Category Archives: Media prostitution

War by media and the triumph of propaganda

 
http://johnpilger.com/articles/war-by-media-and-the-triumph-of-propaganda

War by media and the triumph of propaganda
John Pilger, 5 December 2014

Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are censorship and distortion standard practice? Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power? Why do the New York Times and the Washington Post deceive their readers?
 
Why are young journalists not taught to understand media agendas and to challenge the high claims and low purpose of fake objectivity? And why are they not taught that the essence of so much of what’s called the mainstream media is not information, but power?
 
These are urgent questions. The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war – with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003.
 
The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it, an “invisible government”. It is the government. It rules directly without fear of contradiction and its principal aim is the conquest of us: our sense of the world, our ability to separate truth from lies.
 
The information age is actually a media age. We have war by media; censorship by media; demonology by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a surreal assembly line of obedient clichés and false assumptions.
 
This power to create a new “reality” has been building for a long time. Forty-five years ago, a book entitled The Greening of America caused a sensation. On the cover were these words: “There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual.”
 
I was a correspondent in the United States at the time and recall the overnight elevation to guru status of the author, a young Yale academic, Charles Reich. His message was that truth-telling and political action had failed and only “culture” and introspection could change the world.
 
Within a few years, driven by the forces of profit, the cult of “me-ism” had all but overwhelmed our sense of acting together, our sense of social justice and internationalism. Class, gender and race were separated. The personal was the political, and the media was the message.
 
In the wake of the cold war, the fabrication of new “threats” completed the political disorientation of those who, 20 years earlier, would have formed a vehement opposition.
 
In 2003, I filmed an interview in Washington with Charles Lewis, the distinguished American investigative journalist. We discussed the invasion of Iraq a few months earlier. I asked him, “What if the freest media in the world had seriously challenged George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and investigated their claims, instead of channeling what turned out to be crude propaganda?”
 
He replied that if we journalists had done our job “there is a very, very good chance we would have not gone to war in Iraq.”
 
That’s a shocking statement, and one supported by other famous journalists to whom I put the same question. Dan Rather, formerly of CBS, gave me the same answer.  David Rose of the Observer and senior journalists and producers in the BBC, who wished to remain anonymous, gave me the same answer.
 
In other words, had journalists done their job, had they questioned and investigated the propaganda instead of amplifying it, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children might be alive today; and millions might not have fled their homes; the sectarian war between Sunni and Shia might not have ignited, and the infamous Islamic State might not now exist.
 
Even now, despite the millions who took to the streets in protest, most of the public in western countries have little idea of the sheer scale of the crime committed by our governments in Iraq. Even fewer are aware that, in the 12 years before the invasion, the US and British governments set in motion a holocaust by denying the civilian population of Iraq a means to live.
 
Those are the words of the senior British official responsible for sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s – a medieval siege that caused the deaths of half a million children under the age of five, reported Unicef. The official’s name is Carne Ross. In the Foreign Office in London, he was known as “Mr. Iraq”. Today, he is a truth-teller of how governments deceive and how journalists willingly spread the deception. “We would feed journalists factoids of sanitised intelligence,” he told me, “or we’d freeze them out.”
 
The main whistleblower during this terrible, silent period was Denis Halliday. Then Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and the senior UN official in Iraq, Halliday resigned rather than implement policies he described as genocidal.  He estimates that sanctions killed more than a million Iraqis.
 
What then happened to Halliday was instructive. He was airbrushed. Or he was vilified. On the BBC’s Newsnight programme, the presenter Jeremy Paxman shouted at him: “Aren’t you just an apologist for Saddam Hussein?” The Guardian recently described this as one of Paxman’s “memorable moments”. Last week, Paxman signed a £1 million book deal.
 
The handmaidens of suppression have done their job well. Consider the effects. In 2013, a ComRes poll found that a majority of the British public believed the casualty toll in Iraq was less than 10,000 – a tiny fraction of the truth. A trail of blood that goes from Iraq to London has been scrubbed almost clean.
 
Rupert Murdoch is said to be the godfather of the media mob, and no one should doubt the augmented power of his newspapers – all 127 of them, with a combined circulation of 40 million, and his Fox network. But the influence of Murdoch’s empire is no greater than its reflection of the wider media.
 
The most effective propaganda is found not in the Sun or on Fox News – but beneath a liberal halo. When the New York Times published claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, its fake evidence was believed, because it wasn’t Fox News; it was the New York Times.
 
The same is true of the Washington Post and the Guardian, both of which have played a critical role in conditioning their readers to accept a new and dangerous cold war. All three liberal newspapers have misrepresented events in Ukraine as a malign act by Russia – when, in fact, the fascist led coup in Ukraine was the work of the United States, aided by Germany and Nato.
 
This inversion of reality is so pervasive that Washington’s military encirclement and intimidation of Russia is not contentious. It’s not even news, but suppressed behind a smear and scare campaign of the kind I grew up with during the first cold war.
 
Once again, the evil empire is coming to get us, led by another Stalin or, perversely, a new Hitler. Name your demon and let rip.
 
The suppression of the truth about Ukraine is one of the most complete news blackouts I can remember. The biggest Western military build-up in the Caucasus and eastern Europe since world war two is blacked out. Washington’s secret aid to Kiev and its neo-Nazi brigades responsible for war crimes against the population of eastern Ukraine is blacked out. Evidence that contradicts propaganda that Russia was responsible for the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner is blacked out.
 
And again, supposedly liberal media are the censors. Citing no facts, no evidence, one journalist identified a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine as the man who shot down the airliner. This man, he wrote, was known as The Demon. He was a scary man who frightened the journalist. That was the evidence.
 
Many in the western media haves worked hard to present the ethnic Russian population of Ukraine as outsiders in their own country, almost never as Ukrainians seeking a federation within Ukraine and as Ukrainian citizens resisting a foreign-orchestrated coup against their elected government.
 
What the Russian president has to say is of no consequence; he is a pantomime villain who can be abused with impunity. An American general who heads Nato and is straight out of Dr. Strangelove – one General Breedlove – routinely claims Russian invasions without a shred of visual evidence. His impersonation of Stanley Kubrick’s General Jack D. Ripper is pitch perfect.
 
Forty thousand Ruskies were massing on the border, according to Breedlove. That was good enough for the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Observer – the latter having previously distinguished itself with lies and fabrications that backed Blair’s invasion of Iraq, as its former reporter, David Rose, revealed.
 
There is almost the joi d’esprit of a class reunion. The drum-beaters of the Washington Post are the very same editorial writers who declared the existence of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction to be “hard facts”.
 
“If you wonder,” wrote Robert Parry, “how the world could stumble into world war three – much as it did into world war one a century ago – all you need to do is look at the madness that has enveloped virtually the entire US political/media structure over Ukraine where a false narrative of white hats versus black hats took hold early and has proved impervious to facts or reason.”
 
Parry, the journalist who revealed Iran-Contra, is one of the few who investigate the central role of the media in this “game of chicken”, as the Russian foreign minister called it. But is it a game? As I write this, the US Congress votes on Resolution 758 which, in a nutshell, says: “Let’s get ready for war with Russia.”
In the 19th century, the writer Alexander Herzen described secular liberalism as “the final religion, though its church is not of the other world but of this”. Today, this divine right is far more violent and dangerous than anything the Muslim world throws up, though perhaps its greatest triumph is the illusion of free and open information.
 
In the news, whole countries are made to disappear. Saudi Arabia, the source of extremism  and western-backed terror, is not a story, except when it drives down the price of oil. Yemen has endured twelve years of American drone attacks. Who knows? Who cares?
 
In 2009, the University of the West of England published the results of a ten-year study of the BBC’s coverage of Venezuela. Of 304 broadcast reports, only three mentioned any of the positive policies introduced by the government of Hugo Chavez. The greatest literacy programme in human history received barely a passing reference.
 
In Europe and the United States, millions of readers and viewers know next to nothing about the remarkable, life-giving changes implemented in Latin America, many of them inspired by Chavez. Like the BBC, the reports of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian and the rest of the respectable western media were notoriously in bad faith. Chavez was mocked even on his deathbed. How is this explained, I wonder, in schools of journalism?
 
Why are millions of people in Britain are persuaded that a collective punishment called “austerity” is necessary?
 
Following the economic crash in 2008, a rotten system was exposed. For a split second the banks were lined up as crooks with obligations to the public they had betrayed.
 
But within a few months – apart from a few stones lobbed over excessive corporate “bonuses” – the message changed. The mugshots of guilty bankers vanished from the tabloids and something called “austerity” became the burden of millions of ordinary people. Was there ever a sleight of hand as brazen?
 
Today, many of the premises of civilised life in Britain are being dismantled in order to pay back a fraudulent debt – the debt of crooks. The “austerity” cuts are said to be £83 billion. That’s almost exactly the amount of tax avoided by the same banks and by corporations like Amazon and Murdoch’s News UK. Moreover, the crooked banks are given an annual subsidy of £100bn in free insurance and guarantees – a figure that would fund the entire National Health Service.
 
The economic crisis is pure propaganda. Extreme policies now rule Britain, the United States, much of Europe, Canada and Australia. Who is standing up for the majority? Who is telling their story? Who’s keeping record straight? Isn’t that what journalists are meant to do?
 
In 1977, Carl Bernstein, of Watergate fame, revealed that more than 400 journalists and news executives worked for the CIA. They included journalists from the New York Times, Time and the TV networks. In 1991, Richard Norton Taylor of the Guardian revealed something similar in this country.
 
None of this is necessary today. I doubt that anyone paid the Washington Post and many other media outlets to accuse Edward Snowden of aiding terrorism. I doubt that anyone pays those who  routinely smear Julian Assange – though other rewards can be plentiful.
 
It’s clear to me that the main reason Assange has attracted such venom, spite and jealously is that WikiLeaks tore down the facade of a corrupt political elite held aloft by journalists. In heralding an extraordinary era of disclosure, Assange made enemies by illuminating and shaming the media’s gatekeepers, not least on the newspaper that published and appropriated his great scoop. He became not only a target, but a golden goose.
 
Lucrative book and Hollywood movie deals were struck and media careers launched or kick-started on the back of WikiLeaks and its founder. People have made big money, while WikiLeaks has struggled to survive.
 
None of this was mentioned in Stockholm on 1 December when the editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, shared with Edward Snowden the Right Livelihood Award, known as the alternative Nobel Peace Prize. What was shocking about this event was that Assange and WikiLeaks were airbrushed. They didn’t exist. They were unpeople. No one spoke up for the man who pioneered digital whistleblowing and handed the Guardian one of the greatest scoops in history. Moreover, it was Assange and his WikiLeaks team who effectively – and brilliantly – rescued Edward Snowden in Hong Kong and sped him to safety. Not a word.
 
What made this censorship by omission so ironic and poignant and disgraceful was that the ceremony was held in the Swedish parliament – whose craven silence on the Assange case has colluded with a grotesque miscarriage of justice in Stockholm.
 
“When the truth is replaced by silence,” said the Soviet dissident Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.”
 
It’s this kind of silence we journalists need to break. We need to look in the mirror. We need to call to account an unaccountable media that services power and a psychosis that threatens world war.
 
In the 18th century, Edmund Burke described the role of the press as a Fourth Estate checking the powerful. Was that ever true? It certainly doesn’t wash any more. What we need is a Fifth Estate: a journalism that monitors, deconstructs and counters propaganda and teaches the young to be agents of people, not power. We need what the Russians called perestroika – an insurrection of subjugated knowledge. I would call it real journalism.
 
It’s 100 years since the First World War. Reporters then were rewarded and knighted for their silence and collusion. At the height of the slaughter, British prime minister David Lloyd George confided in C.P. Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian: “If people really knew [the truth] the war would be stopped tomorrow, but of course they don’t know and can’t know.”
 
It’s time they knew.
 
Follow John Pilger on twitter @johnpilger
 

Lies Of Omission

Lies Of Omission

On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts’ desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” – H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Sun

By Dom Stasi

08/31/05 “ICH” — — A reader very recently acquainted me with the above H.L. Mencken quote.  And how very prophetic an observation it has proven to be: a reporter predicting a moron in the White House, a moron insinuated therein by the perfect democratic actions of the “plain folks of the land,” and foreseeing it all some eighty odd years before it came to pass.  

Mencken wrote the words in 1920 as part of a larger piece.  Here’s the passage in context: 

The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. 

Bulls eye. 

What Mencken the newspaper man had no way of foreseeing, however, was the irony – the profound yet unintended irony – in his observation.   

For today we see a White House not merely adorned by a singular if spectacularly qualified moron in the person of its current homesteader, but a seat of government that is in fact overrun by morons.   

To Mencken’s probable delight, most of the unanticipated morons have not taken up residence in the West Wing, nor do they work in the Oval Office.  Numerically speaking, neither would most of the morons be the confused if adamant legion of incompetent liberals turned neo-conservatives with whom the moron-in-chief has surrounded himself, and to whom he’s abdicated what remains of his mind.  They comprise but a handful. 

No.  The vast majority of White House morons – the vast majority – are those who slouch toward the press room every working day.  Therein lies the cruel irony.  These sorry successors to the independent thinking that is the journalistic legacy of an H.L. Mencken take mindlessly-simple dictation and swallow whatever momma news hawk Scott McClellan regurgitates into their gaping and eager little beaks.   

So, every day for nearly five years running the majority of them have proceeded to (perhaps deliberately) miss the point, make their (possibly willful) ignorance mass-manifest with the sophomoric drivel they call writing, and tell us nothing.  Day in and day out they tell us nothing, nothing, and more nothing and get paid to do so.  It’s small wonder the English call newsprint “foolscap.” 

Upon what do I base this seemingly cruel and unfounded exaggeration, you might ask.  Well, that Mencken, a reporter himself, would arrive at his prescient observation some eighty years before it actually came to pass, while the sorry gaggle of obedient stenographers who’ve succeeded him remain either silent or blissfully unaware that the Great and Powerful Oz is a moron to be sure, but also an unindicted criminal, a military derelict, an incompetent, a liar, and a character history will prove a traitor to his country’s founding principles as well as its first unelected dictator seems a worthy start.  It also endorses my proximate point.   

But there’s better – much better – evidence that the White House press corps is not one neuron smarter than the dull-normal White House squatter upon whom they continue to dote.  The only question is whether their apparent stupidity is genuine or the product of  something else.   

Credulity, sycophancy, and fear are anathema to competent journalism.  Yet they are the only plausible possibilities other than stupidity evident in the reportage that has come from this White House press corps.   Thus, calling such people morons is hardly cruel.  Better that than the alternatives. 

Consider this. 

On December 16, 2000, the representative government of the United States of America was overthrown.     

In a coup d’etat like none before it, the weighted votes of the “plain people of the land” and their subsequent endorsements of the evident abuse of those votes was used to elevate a moron to the White House thus bringing an end to their (and our) own representation in the government of America.  These “plain people of the land” got most of their insight to the moron’s past performance through the mainstream press.  As is consistent with plainness, the “plain people of the land” never saw fit to challenge or question the viability of the information.  Content to be influential, they simply believed it, as plain people are prone to believe so many questionable precepts.   

Plain and simple.  The two words do not go together by accident.  Neither was that lost on H.L. Mencken. 

The bloodless coup that proceeded from incompetent and illicitly chosen “leadership” also brought an end to constitutional checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches, an end to voter equity, an end to citizen rights of privacy, a sapping of the treasury that exceeds its contents by 5.4 trillion dollars, an end to burden of proof, an abandonment of national security, a failure of national defense, and an unavenged and deadly attack upon the US sovereign mainland by foreigners for the first time in living memory.   

In short order, the junta turned their armies – the most powerful in all of history – to foreign plunder while preoccupying the plain people of the land with fear, nationalism,  and religion.  Despite the historical monotony of such behavior, the press along with the plain people they not only serve, but apparently comprise, missed the point.   

But perhaps the most heinous oversight is manifest as the White House press corps’ failure to report on the criminal elimination of the not-so-plain people’s ability to legally and peacefully replace the criminal usurpers who caused it ALL to happen, and caused it to happen on the citizenry’s collective nickel.   

Simply stated, the overthrow of the United States began, proceeded apace, and is now complete without its ever being reported by the constitutionally-protected free press.  It is the primary reason the founders demanded a free press.  The fourth estate failed to carry out its constitutional responsibility.  Again, it’s plain and simple.   

Unfortunately, the Constitution cannot provide courage or insight, only protection. 

Still incredulous?  Well, as Carl Sagan once said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” 

Okay, consider these hypotheses:   

There are four pillars of representative democracy in American governance.  Each is intended to provide a check and balance on the others.  They comprise the executive, judicial, and legislative branches, and a free public press – a 4th Estate – answerable to none of the previous three.   

However… 

  • Is a judiciary that deliberately misinterprets the equal protection clause inherent to the Fourteenth Amendment of the very constitution it is sworn to uphold, truly a judiciary, or is it an imperial tribunal?1 
  • When such an appointed body’s extremist faction obviates its raison d’etre that it might elevate the loser of an election to chief executive thus insuring the judicial usurpers a future majority friendly to their twisted ideologies, is such a judiciary the ultimate objective interpreter of that constitution?2 
  • Is any of this what was intended in affording the high court tenured autonomy?
  • Is a denial of voters’ tallies and equal access to polling places in a subsequent election consistent with the spirit and viability of representative government? 
  • Is an appointed and proximally unelected executive who takes a democratic republic to war for personal reasons, does so on the apparent advice of traitors, and refuses to reveal either the reasons or the names of the traitors not a dictator?
  • Is a people’s legislature that locks the loyal minority opposition out of its chambers while redrawing electoral districts to ensure their own majority tenure a viable manifestation of representative government as set forth in our nation’s charter? 
  • Is a 4th Estate that fails to report this as abuse of power, and whose reticence is born of fear, constitutionally viable and truly free? 

If your answer to any of these is No, then you tacitly agree that the government of our nation’s founders has been overthrown.  If you are familiar with the first 10 and 14th amendments of the US Constitution and your answer to any of these questions is No, then you agree definitively that America has been overthrown. 

That said, have you read about the government’s overthrow in your morning paper?  Of course not.  Have any of the strong-jawed, weak-minded dunderheads on the television “news” told the tale?  No.  After all, since neither Michael Jackson, the Runaway bride, or a baseball player were behind the coup how would they even know it was a story? 

The story has simply not been reported anywhere in the American mainstream press.   Perhaps that’s because America fell with no shots being fired by the revolutionaries.   

But let’s be realistic.  If you were to overthrow the most financially and militarily powerful empire in all of history would you endeavor to do so by shooting it out with them?  No.  Not even the Neo-Cons are stupid enough to expect a violent overthrow to succeed against the U.S.  Only the White House press is that stupid – they and the “plain folks of the  land” who still believe these hacks are reporting the news, are that stupid.   

So, conditioned to expect shots to be fired in an opposition coup, the White House press corps and their credulous supporters sat out the overthrow in blissful ignorance.  There they remain.  Plain and simple. 

That this is easily the biggest story in the history of the languaged world remains irrefutable.  It’s bigger than the Crusades, the War Of Independence, the Civil War, Krakatoa, WW-I, WW-II, Watergate, and the Moon landing combined.  Name it.  This is a bigger story.  It’s even bigger than the semen stain on Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress!  The overthrow of America is simply the biggest story ever, and it has gone entirely unreported and apparently unrecognized by the country’s mainstream news organizations.  So what else then, what else but morons does one call the White House press corps?  Traitors?  No, that requires awareness.   Journalists?  Gimme a break.  Morons it must be.  Morons it is – morons until proven otherwise.   

There is still time for that to happen, though.  That they are morons can yet be proven otherwise.     

But proving otherwise will require that the people of the White House press corps come to terms with something worse than personal stupidity and incompetence.  They will have to overcome their cowardice, and act against their petty fears.  For what has inhibited these people is petty fear.  That is especially so when considered in the context of a profession whose viability is based upon the courage and intellect of its practitioners.   

When one acquiesces to such fears yet continues to write, he is no longer a journalist, but a common hack – or worse – a propagandist.   

This capitulation to fear did not happen by accident.   

When the dean of White House correspondents, Helen Thomas was relegated to a silent place in the back row for asking relevant questions of this administration, her colleagues took notice.  What they saw frightened the otherwise objective journalists in the room.   

That was intended.   

When the administration’s leading cheerleader for war, Pulitzer laureate Judith Miller of the New York Times, was awarded Helen’s place and the lead “stories,” she gained an undeserved place for her indiscriminate warmongering garbage on  the front pages of the newspaper of record.  This was a clear instruction to the ambitious wage slaves posing as journalists in the 2nd through last rows of the press room.   

That too was intended.   

The White House press room has been little more than a Skinner box under the paralyzing glare of Ari Fleischer, Karl Rove, Scott McClellan, Karen Hughes, Scooter Libby.  

Then there were the other carrots, those dangled at the corporate level.   

When the administration continued to imply that under Michael Powell’s FCC there would be a relaxation if not total elimination of the ownership caps on TV and newspapers, the media moguls drooled.  The people they drooled upon were their obedient employees of the White House press corps.  They wanted Bush returned to office that he would make their avaricious cross-ownership dreams come true.  Their minions behaved as expected- not as reporters but as frightened corporate hacks.   

America’s fourth estate should not be a copying machine for Bush administration press releases.  The self-described federalists of this White House seem to consider the U.S. Constitution a convenience, so do its “reporters.”  We deserve better from both.   

However, so conditioned, the remainder of the press corps have chosen to sit silently, or ask inane and sycophantic questions, unaware – as they are of so many things – that there is no safe place for a coward, not even in a coven of cowards.   

For five long years now they’ve silently squatted at the top of their field, making money they did not earn, while others, others such as Paul Krugman the New York Times economics editor, or Tim Rutten and Steve Lopez writing in the local sections of the Los Angeles Times do a far better job of covering national politics than their terrified Washington beat counterparts without half trying.   

For example, the front pages of America’s newspapers give me the good news of a slight rise in U.S. manufacturing jobs.  But when I turn to the British press I learn that the White House has secretly decided to include the  kitchen staffs at McDonalds in that statistic because they manufacture sandwiches.   

Forget it.  The best reportage in America comes today from either the foreign press or from courageous local and freelance journalists speaking their mind.  For analysis one must turn to magazines like Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Harpers, or to academics willing to speak out.  All of them toil in the relative obscurity of genre and place.  

But there is change upon the wind.  I can smell it.  There are those in the Washington press who are saying, Enough!  In fact, there seem to be those at the Washington Post who are saying enough!  Other papers have followed suit.  This week there were lead stories, well researched stories in both the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe concerning the complicity of Karl Rove in the Plame affair.  Taking a note from their magazine counterparts, these were thoughtful and probing pieces of journalism, the sort of in-depth reportage the big, resource-rich organizations can do so well.  Though both stories they were compilations, reported in retrospect, thus implying their under-coverage prior, this sort of reportage will keep such events in the forefront, allowing the public to focus on what is important.  This is just what happened in the Seventies.  The press kept Watergate in front of an otherwise bored and oblivious public, offering positive feedback, information-reinforcement, until the story’s implications became too profound to be ignored by the plain people of the land any longer.  To see this emerging again perhaps, well it’s an encouraging sign.   

As so often happens, with time and abuse, cowardice often turns into simple, understandable fright.  When that fright is forged in outrage, in time it turns into anger, and anger can turn into action.  Professionals trained in analytical and objective critical thought, cannot forever feign irrationality and ignorance.  Professional skeptics cannot remain credulous and expect to remain relevant – if not to their bosses, then to themselves.   

Add to these personal-professional dichotomies that the press, like everyone else who deals with this administration, have now been double crossed. They are at last coming to that realization.   

When Bush was returned to office and little Powell quit the FCC, there was no more mention of deregulation.   The ownership carrot remained on the stick, still out of reach.   

When a White House flack posing as a reporter, was revealed as a fraud and sexual predator, it identified the lengths to which this administration will go when given free reign.  It also illustrated the boundaries beyond which no ethical journalist will venture to get what will only be a phony story after all.   

When apologist Judith Miller was sold out by the very administration whose lies she parroted and was sent to jail for not revealing the administration source of those lies, it becomes evident that there is no safe place for a coward.  Her beloved White House left her to twist in the wind.  Twisting she remains.  But not before the lies she retold killed and maimed people.3   The killing continues.  The pen is also deadlier than the sword.   

These events, unlike most others, were not lost on the self-interested press.  So finally, there are stirrings.  They are ever so few, but there are stories appearing now, and they are appearing in the big papers, stories reminiscent of a free press finding its way back into the mainstream.  The stories are rare and banal to be sure, but every day a bit more prominent, a bit more edgy, a bit more common. 

The question is, do these first cautious steps represent the stirrings of a free American press awakening after a too-long slumber or just a testing of the winds by an opportunistic fair weather corporate press simply frightened of finding itself on the wrong side of its future?   

I want very much to believe that they are the former.  But more than that, I want to believe that these are the first stirrings of courage as well, and of an anger forged in outrage.  From this anger perhaps will follow the return to truthful reportage.   

Conclusion: Journalists invented the concept of headlines.  It is their way of giving weight to that which they consider important – and by omission or font size, that which they incrementally do not.   

These stories – which I consider the most important in America’s history – have not been granted headline status.  Ever.  Instead they have been written with little or biased analysis and buried just deep enough to allow the press a plausible out when accused of right-wing bias, but still not prominent enough to raise the public’s awareness of their import.  It’s a journalistic trick I’ve learned of from my children: small compensation for their expensive private college degrees in journalism.  Both chose other professions.    

But every profession has its tricks.  Those tricks are inherent to their end product. 

But as a consumer, if I want tricks, I’ll see a magic show.  What I want from my newspaper is news.

 In journalism, ignoring a story is tantamount to lying.  A lie of omission is no less a lie.  Truth is a commodity too long abused if not abandoned altogether in the mainstream American press, especially so in its treatment of the human catastrophe that is the Bush presidency.   

In this media age, unlike in H.L. Mencken’s time, we feel as if we actually know our government “leaders.”  I endure the sight of George W Bush’s arrogant smirk every day, while I might see my daughter’s lovely smile but once or twice a week, and she lives a mere ten miles distant.     

But see them or not, we don’t know our “leaders.”  In fact today an American citizen is less likely to actually see or meet George W. Bush than he would have been to “Shake the hand that shook the hand of Abraham” Lincoln, had he lived in the 19th Century.  No.  What we see is just the media’s portrayal of the president today.   This media – today’s American popular media – has portrayed a fabrication.  The president we see is no more real than Batman.  The president we don’t see is havoc made manifest.   

So they are liars these White House scribes.  Their lies have very probably helped destroy our American way of life to say nothing of the quality of life on Earth for future generations of humanity.  As President Bush himself so wisely said, “Fool me once, shame on… shame on you.  Fool me… you can’t get fooled again.” 

That’s why this American is far from certain that these first discernable changes in reportage that I’ve described portend a return to ethical journalism in America.  Truthful and intelligent political and world affairs reportage remains the exception rather than the rule in the popular news media.  That must change, and I for one expect it will.  That’s a personal opinion, nothing more.  But that it must change radically is not opinion but fact.   

Our press must return to its blood-won foundations if this nation and its equally hard won principles – its real principles, its learned and founding and social principles, not the baseless psychotic fantasies of the far Right – are to survive us and be our children’s real inheritance.  There’s never been a “death tax” on liberty.  Our generation must not pose one on our descendants by following the leadership of fools and scoundrels all dressed up as Americans by their stooges of the press.   

So for now, the main section of my daily paper, replete with its front page, will continue to find that its only rightful place in my home remains that space between the basement floor and the business end of my cat.

An engineer, Dom Stasi <ResponDS1@aol.com> is Chief Technology Officer for an international media network.  A pilot, Air Force veteran, and member of both the Planetary Society, and Center For Inquiry, he is a widely published science and technology writer.  A father of two, Mr. Stasi lives in Los Angeles with his wife of 38 years.  He has no cat.

Footnotes

1/ http://straylight.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.overview.html

2/ Vincent Bugliosi, The Betrayal Of America, P – 68, Nation Books, New York 2001

3/  http://www.sourcewatch.org/wiki.phtml?title=Judith_Miller

The War on Libya : An Imperialist Project to Create Three Libyas

The War on Libya : An Imperialist Project to Create Three Libyas

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research, July 29, 2011

TRIPOLI, July 28, 2011 The division of Libya into three separate countries is part of the US-NATO imperial design. It is part of a project shared by the U.S., Britain, Italy, and France.

The NATO war launched against Libya in March 2011 was geared towards the breakup of the country into three separate entities.

The NATO led war, however, is back firing. The Libyan people have united to save their country and Tripoli is exploring its strategic options.

Preface: Reality versus Fiction

Almost all of the text herein was written a few months prior to my trip to Tripoli. It is part of a series of articles on Libya which I have been updating. It is fitting to conclude it in Tripoli, Libya. To be here on the ground in Libya is to be witness to the lies and warped narratives of the mainstream media and the governments. These lies have been used to justify this criminal military endeavor.

The mainstream media has been a major force in this war. They have endorsed and fabricated the news, they have justified an illegal and criminal war against an entire population.

Passing through the neighbourhood of Fashloom in Tripoli it is apparent that no jets attacked it as Al Jazeera and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) falsely claimed. Now the same media networks, newspapers, and wires claim on a daily basis that Tripoli is about to fall and that the Transitional Council is making new advances to various cities. Tripoli is nowhere near falling and is relatively peaceful. Foreign journalists have also all been taken to the areas that are being reported to have fallen to the Transitional Council, such as Sabha and its environs.

The mainstream media reporting out of Tripoli have consistently produced false reports. They report about information from “secure internet services” which essentially describes embassy and intelligence communication media. This is also tied to the “shadow internet” networks that the Obama Administration is promoting as part of a fake protest movement directed against governments around the world, including Latin America, Africa and Eurasia.

The foreign press operating out of Libya have deliberately worked to paint a false picture of Libya as a country on the brink of collapse and Colonel Qaddafi as a despot with little support.

A journalist was filmed wearing a bulletproof vest for his report in a peaceful area where there was no need for a bulletproof vest. These journalists broadly transmit the same type of news as the journalists embedded with the armed forces, the so-called embedded journalists. Most of the foreign press has betrayed the sacred trust of the public to report accurately and fairly.

Not only are they actively misreporting, but are serving the interests of the military coalition. They are actively working “against Libya.” They and their editors have deliberately fashioned reports and taken pictures and footage which have been used to portray Tripoli as an empty ghost town.

Le Monde for example published an article on July 7, 2011 by Jean-Philippe Rémy, which included misleading photographs that presented Tripoli as a ghost city. The photographs were taken by Laurent Van der Stickt, but it was the editors in Paris who selected the pictures to be used for publication. Le Monde is an instrument of war propaganda. It is publishing material which serves to mislead French public opinion.

Sky News is no better. Lisa Holland of Sky News has always used the words “claimed,” “claim,” and “unverified” for anything that Libyan officials say, but presents everything that NATO says without the same doubt-casting language as if it is an unquestionable truth. She used every chance she had to degrade the Libyans. When she visited the bombed home of the daughter of Mohammed Ali Gurari, where the entire family was killed by NATO, she repeatedly asked if Qaddafi was responsible for the bombing to the dismay of those present, with the exception of the reporters who helped paint distorted pictures in the mind of their audiences and readers. She has deliberately distorted the underlying the reality of the situation, blaming Qaddafi, while knowing full well who had killed the Gurari family.

Other reports include those of Liseron Boudoul., Boudoul is a reporter for Télévision française 1 (TF1), who has been in Tripoli for months. She reported on March 22, 2011 that all the reports coming out of Tripoli are reviewed and censored by Tripoli. This statement was fabricated. If the Libyans had been censoring the news, they would not have allowed her to make that statement or for her and her colleagues to continue their disinformation campaign. Like all the other foreign journalists in Libya, she has witnessed the popular support for Colonel Qaddafi, but this important information has been deliberately withheld from her reports.

Much of what is being passed on as news by foreign reporters on the ground is a mirror of the US-NATO’s fake humanitarian mandate.


There is a real military-industrial-media complex at work in North America and Western Europe. Most of the media claims are nonsensical and contrary to the facts on the ground. They ignore the realities and hard facts. Were these to have been revealed, people in NATO countries would be mobilizing against their governments and against the NATO led war on Libya.

They have helped portray the victim as the aggressor. They use every chance they have to demonize the Libyan government, while upholding the legitimacy of NATO. Essentially many of these so-called journalists are professional propagandists.

The mainstream media has also basically worked as an intelligence branch of the Pentagon and NATO in multiple ways. The mainstream media has been party to atrocities and crimes and that point should not be lost when analyzing the war in Libya. British journalists have even been said to have given coordinates for bombings to NATO.

Libya: A Nation and its Society

Because of its geographic location, Libya has been at the crossroads, a meeting point of various ethnic groups and nationalities, The inhabitants of Libya are a mixed people of various stocks from Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, Europe, and Southwest Asia. Berbers, Egyptians, Greeks, people of Italian descent, people from the Levant, Iranians, Arabs, Turks, Vandals, Hadjanrais, Tuaregs (the Kel Tamajaq or Kel Tamashq), and several other groups have all contributed to the mosaic that constitutes the present population and society of Libya.

The genesis of the concept of a Libyan nation as a loosely-knit entity started with the imperial rule of the Ottoman Empire in North Africa. For the inhabitants of Libya it resulted in a shared feeling of similarity that intensified after the Italo-Ottoman War. After this war between the Ottoman Empire and Italy, the three Ottoman provinces in Libya fell under Italian colonial control.

From the Ottoman and Italian periods onwards up until the years after the Italian defeat the Eastern Libyans had much in common with their kindred in Egypt, while Western Libyans had much in common with their kindred in Tunisia and Algeria, and while Southern Libyans had much in common with their kindred in Niger, Chad, and Sudan. The inhabitants of Libya, however, also had much in common with each other. This included a shared history, a shared language with similar dialects of Arabic, a shared faith, and shared political goals.


Geographic proximity and a united feeling of animosity towards the Italians were also important ingredients in establishing a sense of nationhood. Under Italian rule of Libya this feeling of similarity amongst the local inhabitants eventually developed into a national identity as well as a resistance movement to Italian colonial rule. The aspirations of this indigenous resistance were local sovereignty and unity without any foreign yoke.

The Devil’s Game: Divide and Conquer

Libya has fallen deeper and deeper into a trap. The flames of internal fighting have been fuelled in Libya with the aim of replicating the same divisive scenarios that occurred in the former Yugoslavia and in Iraq. These plans are also aimed at igniting chaos in North Africa and West Africa in an effort to re-colonize Africa in its entirety.

The objective of Washington and its allies consists in confiscating and managing Libya’s vast wealth and controlling its resources. The have initiated a foreign-propelled civil war in Libya. Meanwhile the forces of Colonel Qaddafi have regained control of most of Libyan territory.

The coalition then decided to intervene when the Benghazi-based Transitional Council was lying in its deathbed and was in very desperate shape. If it had to, the Transitional Council was willing to make a deal with the “Devil” for its survival. Thus, the Transitional Council embraced its NATO enablers even closer.

It must also be asked, which Libyan tribes have publicly sided with the Transitional Council? This is a very important question that allows one to establish the extent of public support for the rebellion. Anyone who understands Libyan society also understands the heavy political weight and representation the tribes have.

Also, how many people remain in Benghazi? The demographics of that city have changed since the start of the conflict. Many people have fled to Egypt and abroad from Benghazi. This is not due to the fighting alone, but is tied to a lack of support for the Transitional Council, not to mention the foreign fighters that the TNC has brought, and the lawlessness prevailing in Benghazi.

Dividing Libya into Three Trusteeships

There have been longstanding designs for dividing Libya that go back to 1943 and 1951. This started with failed attempts to establish a trusteeship over Libya after the defeat of Italy and Germany in North Africa during the Second World War.

The attempts to divide Libya then eventually resulted in a strategy that forced a monarchical federal system onto the Libyans similar to the “federal system” imposed on Iraq following the illegal 2003 Anglo-American invasion. If the Libyans had accepted federalism in their relatively homogenous society they could have forfeited their independence in 1951. [1]

Great sacrifices were made by the Libyans who fought to liberate their nation. During the Second World War the Libyans allowed Britain to enter their country to fight the Italians and the Germans. Benghazi fell to British military control on November 20, 1942, and Tripoli on January 23, 1943.[2] Despite its promises to allow Libya to become an independent country, London intended to administer the two Libyan provinces of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica separately as colonies, while Paris was given control over the region of Fezzan (Fazzan), which is roughly one-third of Libya and the area to the southwest of the country bordering Algeria, Niger, and Chad. [3]

Following the end of the Second World War the victors and Italy attempted to partition Libya into territories that they would govern over as trust territories. It is because of the failure of this project that the Libyans gained independence as a united nation.

The political scientist Henri Habib describes this best:

The Allies, hav[ing] introduced a division in [Libya], hoped to have enough time to achieve their own ambitions. In the meantime, the Four Big Powers – the U.S.A., the U.S.S.R., the U.K., and France – met on two occasions at Potsdam and at San Francisco to discuss among other things the future of the former Italian colonies in Africa, including Libya. They referred the matter to the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Big Four. The latter met in London in September, 1945, and later in April, 1946, but were unable to agree. The U.S. proposed a collective United Nations Trusteeship over Libya; the U.S.S.R. proposed a Soviet Trusteeship over Tripolitania; while France wanted it returned to Italy. Eventually, the Soviets adopted the French view, but insisted on a Soviet-Italian Trusteeship. The British were ambiguous on the future; Britain and the U.S. later accepted an Italian Trusteeship on the condition, Britain insisted, that Cyrenaica be excluded. On February 10, 1947, a peace treaty with Italy was signed in Paris without settling the question of the Italian colonies. The Italians renounced all rights to their former colonies. They were secretly encouraged to make this renunciation in exchange for a vague promise of a U.N. Trusteeship over some of their former colonies. The Paris Conference had established as a corollary to the 1947 Peace Treaty with Italy a special Four Power Commission of Investigation to study the conditions in the former Italian colonies. They visited Libya from March 6, to May 20, 1948. They also consulted with the Italian government. The Commission was unable to arrive at a common decision, and conflicting recommendations were made, despite a strong desire made by the Libyan people for their independence. […] When the foreign ministers of the Big Four met on September 13, 1948, to receive the recommendations, they had little choice but to refer the whole matter to the General Assembly of the U.N. scheduled to meet on September 15, 1948.
Thus the question of the Libyan and other Italian colonies was placed on the U.N. General Assembly agenda. [4]

Once the matter was handed to the U.N. General Assembly, the British and the Italians made a last-ditch proposal on May 10, 1949, called the Bevin-Sfora Plan for Libya that consisted in dividing Libyan territory into an Italian-controlled Tripolitania, a British-controlled Cyrenaica, and a French-ruled Fezzan. [5] The motion failed by a vote of one and if it were not for the crucial vote of Haiti the U.N. would have portioned Libya into three separate countries. [6] (See map below)

The defeat of the plans to divide Libya at the U.N. would not be the end of the project to divide the North African country. There was still the internal card, division from within. This is where King Idris came into the picture.

Soft Balkanization through a Federal Emirate

Libya could have ended up like Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the Trucial Sheikhdoms which subsequently formed the United Arab Emirates. The British, the French, and the Italians did not give up their design for Libya, even when the U.N. General Assembly voted in favour of a united and independent Libya. They continued to try to divide Libya and even establish spheres of influence in consultaiton with the U.S. The focus was on Libyan federalism through an unelected National Assembly controlled by King Idris and a small circle of Libyan chieftains. [7]

The federalist system was unacceptable to many Libyans, which saw the new undemocratic National Assembly as a means of sidestepping the Libyan people. Moreover, the elected representatives from the heavily populated region of Tripolitania would be outweighed by the unelected chieftains from Cyrenaica and Fezzan. The official U.S. position was that the so-called “indigenous political leadership” of Cyrenaica and Fezzan enter the National Assembly with the elected representatives from Tripolitania on the “basis of equal representation for all parts of Libya.” [8] This was Orwellian double-speak that was meant to sidestep the will of the Libyan people. What was being pushed for by the U.S., Britain, France, and Italy was a country similar to the Arab sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf.

In 1951, the U.S. State Department had this to say about the unelected National Assembly and King Idris:
The Department hopes and expects that all powers previously exercised by the Administering Authorities [meaning France and Britain] will, by the date fixed by the [U.N. General Assembly] (i.e., January 1, 1952) “have been transferred to the duly constituted Libyan Government”. Proclamation of independence is expected to follow thereafter, together with the assumption by [the] Emir (Idris Al Senusi) of his position as constitutional monarch of United Libya. [9]

This did not sit well with many Arabs. Egypt was highly critical and saw through the diplomatic deceit. The Egyptian and wider Arab opposition were based on the following rationale:

(a) the National Assembly (which prepared the [Libyan] constitution) should have been an elected rather than an appointed body (Egypt has contended previously that only an elected [or democratic] National Assembly in which the three parts of Libya […] were represented in proportion to their population could properly represent the people of Libya in the constitution-making process […]) ; (b) the form of government should be unitary rather than federal ; and (c) the present federation plan is merely a disguised method of maintaining old imperialist control over Libya by the interested great powers. [10]

In this regard, Henri Habib states: “When Libya obtained its independence in December 1951, federalism was imposed upon the country by King Idris and the foreign powers [specifically Britain, France, the U.S., and Italy] despite opposition from the majority of Libyans.” [11] He adds further: “Libyans saw their country deliberately divided by Britain and France, and [the] seeds of division planted among them.” [12]


Federalism, however, would be defeated by the steadfast pan-Arab demands for unity by the Libyan people:
Despite the initially strong opposition of King Idris and his British mentors, the country was forced by the nature of things to adopt the unitary system in April 1963. The federal experiment was a failure and even the king had to acknowledge it. A special royal decree was issued on April 27, 1963, abolishing federalism and establishing the unitary system. [13]

If Washington, London, Paris, and Rome had succeeded in their design, modern-day Libya would in all likelihood not have become a republic. Instead Libya would most probably have mirrored the model of the United Arab Emirates, as an Arab petro-sheikhdom in the Mediterranean and the only Arab sheikhdom outside of the Persian Gulf littoral.

Calculated Balkanization via Civil War: Dividing Libya into Trusteeships

There was more than just fate on the side of the Libyan people who had fought for their independence. The imperialist attempt to divide Libya into three territories was defeated by the Libyan people. In the words of Henri Habib:

Despite the attempts made by a number of powers to keep Libya divided and weak after 1951 by establishing a federal system in a homogenous state, the Libyans amended their own constitution in 1963, established a unitary state and removed a major obstacle to the unity of [Libya]. This obstacle was an administrative or structural impediment to the fuller evolution of independence which the Libyans sacrificed so much to achieve. [14]

During the previous scheme to divide their country many Libyans realized that the objective of the former colonial powers was to enhance the powers of King Idris. Idris was to serve as a foreign vassal and the “local manager” of foreign interests. His role would have been similar to the Arab monarchs in Jordan and Morocco. The purpose was to install a neocolonial regime while weakening Libya as a nation-State. [15]

Today, in the context of the US-NATO led war, the objectives to divide Libya into the three territories of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan are very much alive. James Clapper Jr., the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, had testified to the U.S. Senate in March 2011 that at the end of the conflict Libya would revert to its previous federalist divisions which existed under the monarchy and that the country would have two or three different administrations. [16]


Thus, effectively Britain, France and Italy have resumed their neocolonial project to balkanize Libya into three separate states. All three countries have acknowledged sending military advisors to the Transitional Council: “Italian Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa said 10 military instructors would be sent and details were being worked out. He spoke Wednesday [April 20, 2011] after meeting with his British counterpart, Liam Fox.” [17] It is most likely that hundreds of NATO and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) military advisors and special troops are operating on the ground in Libya.

France has openly admitted funnelling weapons into the Western Mountains to forces hostile to the Tripoli government. [18] This constitutes a breach of U.N. security council resolution 1973. It constitutes a blatant violation of international law. The French government claims that they are sending weapons to civilians to protect themselves. This is a non-sequitur argument. It has no legal standing whatsoever and is an utter lie.

Weapons’ shipments have also been flown into Benghazi by these Western European powers and the U.S. under the disguise of humanitarian aid. Moreover there are signs that the small insurgency in the Western Mountains was coordinated by U.S. diplomats in November 2010. [19] One U.S. diplomat was asked to leave Libya in November 2010 for making unauthorized secret trips to the area, just as U.S. and French diplomats have done in Hama to stroke tensions in Syria. [20]

This war seeks to create divisions within Libyan society. Admiral Stravridis, the U.S. commander in charge of NATO, has told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee in March 2011 that he believed that Qaddafi’s support base would shrink as the tribal cleavages in Libya came “into play” as the war proceeded. [21] What Stravridis indirectly spelled out is that the NATO operations in Libya will cause further internal divisions through igniting tribal tensions that will cement regional differences. This is one of the real aims of the bombing campaign. [22] The U.S. and NATO also know full well that if Colonel Qaddafi is gone that the Libyan tribes would bicker amongst themselves for power and be politically divided. This is why they have been very adamant about removing Qaddafi.

The U.S., Britain, France, Italy, and NATO have all banked on a power vacuum that would be left by Qaddafi if he leaves power or dies. This is why they want to kill him. They have calculated that there will be a mad dash to fill the power vacuum that will help divide Libya further and promote violence. They are also very well aware that any tribal conflicts in Libya will spread from North Africa into West Africa and Central Africa.

The NATO-led coalition against Libya is supported by covert intelligence operaitons on the ground as psychological operations (PSYOPS) to create internal divisions within the Tripoli government. This is intended to not only weaken the regime and to make it act more desperately, but it is also intended to compound the internal divisions within Libya.
Britain’s William Hague has offered sanctuary to any Libyan officials, such as Musa Al-Kusa, that wish to defect from Tripoli and has said that London will exempt them from international sanctions. [23] This British offer of “exemption” also illustrates that the international sanctions against Libya are a political weapon with very little moral or ethical meaning or drive.

Even within the Benghazi-based Transitional Council there are divisions that the Pentagon and NATO have been exploiting. The Wall Street Journal had this to report about the animosity between the so-called jihadist elements and the rest of the Transitional Council: “Some rebel leaders are wary of their [meaning the jihadists] roles. ‘Many of us were concerned about these people’s backgrounds,’ said Ashour Abu Rashed, one of Darna’s representatives on the rebel’s provisional government body, the Transitional National Council.” [24] It has also been disclosed that the Transitional Council forces are also fighting each other and using NATO against each other. [25]

Sowing the Seeds of Chaos: Al-Qaeda and Libya

U.S. officials have increasingly been talking about the expansion of Al-Qaeda in Africa and how the “Global War on Terrorism” must be extended into the African continent. This talking point severes the following objectives:

1. To bolster U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and a NATO-like alliance in Africa.

2. To control the Transitional Council, which is integrated by an Islamic militia as well prevent the development of an authentic and progressive opposition within Libya.

The U.S. and the E.U. would not not accept a truly independent Libyan government. In this regard, there are contingency plans which would allow the US and the E.U., if they so choose, to betray the Transitional Council or dispose of it like an outdated utensil. This is why the Pentagon and the mainstream media have started to speak about an Al-Qaeda presence in Libya.

Such scenario of betrayal should come as no surprise. The U.S. and its allies have consistently betrayed former allies. Saddam Hussein is one example and another is the Taliban government in Kabul, which was directly supported by the US.

Washington and its cohorts are deliberately keeping the Al-Qaeda card in reserve to use against the Transitional Council in case it refuses to cooperate with Washington and NATO. Regardless of a Transitional Council victory, they also want to use the Al-Qaeda card as a a justificaiton for future military interventions in Libya under the banner of the “war on terrorism”.

It is very likely that terrorist attacks will occur in Libya in some form like they did in Iraq following its 2003 invasion and occupation. These acts of terrorism will be covertly coordinated by Washington and its NATO allies.

In the words of Robin Cook the former foreign minister of Britain, Al-Qaeda is “originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians [sic.; Soviets].” [26] Washington and NATO are now planning to use Al-Qaeda and the militant Islamists that they themselves created to fight countries opposed to their agenda, such as Syria and Libya, and to implant a new generation of subservient Islamist politicians into Arab countries, such as Egypt.

Dividing Libya: Destroying the Nation State

This war in Libya has nothing to do with saving lives. Truth is turned upside down: Killing is saving lives, being dead is being alive, war is peace, destruction is preservation, and open lies are presented as the truth. People have been blinded by a slew of lies and utter deception.

In this conflict most of the propaganda, most of the lies, and most of the hatred have invariably come from people who are not actually involved in the fighting. Others have been used as their pawns and Libya as their battlefield. All the known advocates of Pentagon militarism and global empire demanded for this war to take place, including Paul Wolfowitz, John McCain, Joseph Lieberman, Eliott Abrahams, Leon Wieseltier, John Hannah, Robert Kagan, and William Kristol.

There has been a blatant infringement of international law. War crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed by NATO in Libya. These crimes will never be investigated by the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) or the U.N. Quite the opposite: the U.N. Security Council and the I.C.C. are political weapons, which are being used against Libya. The UN is silent on the use of depleted uranium (D.U.) ammunition or the bombing of civilian targets

This is not a a humanitarian war: the first target of the war was the Mint which prints and issues Libyan dinars and the country’s food storage facilities. Several humanitarian organizations were targetted including schools, a children center, hospitals, the offices of the Down’s Syndrome Society, the Handicapped Women’s Foundation, the National Diabetic Research Centre, the Crippled Children’s Foundation. Among the hospitals and medical facilities which have been bombed is a complex used for medical oxygen production.


The bombings have also targetted residential areas, a hotel, restaurants, a bus filled with civilians, Nasser University (a campus of Al-Fatah University), and a conference hall with participants involved in anti-war activism. Meanwhile NATO was supplying the rebels with offensive weapons [27]

What is happening in Libya is an insidious process.
The underlying objective is create divisions within Libyan society.

The war is dragging out, which in turn creates a situation in which the Transitional Council becomes increasingly dependent on the US and NATO military alliance. This is why NATO has deliberately prolonged the war and reduced its support to the Transitional Council’s forces on the battlefield. This is one of the reasons why rebel forces have been pushed back. Even the so-called “friendly fire” incidents whereby NATO bombed the Transitional Council’s tank column heading towards Tripoli are suspect. Was this a deliberate attack with a view to prolonging the fighting. [28]

NATO has now bombed advancing Transitional Council forces several times. The Transitional Council has found it hard to explain why NATO has been bombing its forces and has even been placed in a position where it had to apologize on April 2, 2011 to NATO when its frontline volunteers were killed by NATO war planes. [29] Internal political fighting within the Transitional Council may also be a factor behind these “friendly fire” NATO bombings.

Many reports have described the conflict as intensifying:

The pro-Qadhafi forces mounted a fierce assault on Ajdabiyah since Saturday morning [April 9, 2011]. Following classic military tactics, regime forces first resorted to the heavy artillery firing, which was followed by incursions by infantry troops inside the town. By afternoon, shells were landing at Istanbul street in the city centre, causing panic among several opposition fighters, who chose to hastily flee in their vehicles towards Benghazi. However, some among the opposition ranks stood their ground, and managed to control the north-eastern access to the town. But another artillery barrage appeared to have dislodged them from their fragile moorings. As the battle raged, NATO forces were pitching in with air strikes, which seemed unable to silence the regime’s heavy guns. On Sunday [April 10, 2011], NATO claimed that air strikes had destroyed 11 regime tanks ahead of Ajdabiyah. The government said it had shot down two opposition helicopters, signalling the high intensity of the fighting on the ground as well as in the air. [30]

In reality there is a virtual stalemate. The Transitional Council is not moving westward, but has also been entrenched in its eastward positions due to NATO support.

One objective of NATO is to control both sides. The idea is that as both sides become more desperate they will also increasingly turn to Washington and Brussels for a way out of the war and make more concessions to U.S. and E.U. demands. The Israelis are also another player that can be turned to by both sides in Libya.

Both Tripoli and Benghazi have talked with the U.S. and the E.U. through different channels, which include using individuals in unofficial positions. Kurt Weldon, a former member of the U.S. Congress for Pennsylvania, went to meet with Libyan officials at the start of April 2011. Weldon made the trip to Tripoli in coordination with the White House. The U.S. media tried to casually gloss over Weldon’s visit running articles about how he did not meet Qaddafi.

At the onset of the fighting Tripoli accepted Venezuelan offers for mediation, which the U.S. and the E.U. undermined and the Transitional Council rejected. Tripoli even said that it accepted an initial March 2011 African Union ceasefire and reform plan, which were ignored by Washington and its allies. Tripoli even requested that the African Union, the U.N., and the E.U. investigate for themselves the claims against the Libyan government. Worldwide, most governments, from Brazil and Nigeria to Malaysia and China, voiced support for a negotiated settlement in Libya, but this has been ignored by the U.S., NATO, and the unrepresentative group of Arab dictators they call their allies.

The Qaddafi family’s subsequent requests for diplomatic negotiations were also turned down by the U.S. and the main E.U. powers. [31] Afterwards, Tripoli again accepted African Union offers for mediation spearheaded by the Republic of South Africa and a repeated African Union proposal for a ceasefire, which the U.S. and the E.U. undermined again and the Transitional Council rejected. [32] The repeated African Union proposal called for a ceasefire, the creation of humanitarian corridors, protection of foreigners, and finally dialogue between both sides in bringing democratic reform. [33] A massive people’s initiative for a reconciliation march across the war zone in Libya was even started, which received little press coverage outside of Africa and a few countries. [34]

The government in Tripoli has even put together a new constitution. [35] Tripoli even gave orders for the military to leave Misurata (Misrata/Misratah) and allow the local tribes to establish political order and security in the city and its surrounding district. [36] During talks with Greece officials from Libya even tried to use billions of frozen dollars to provide humanitarian aid to the Libyan people on both sides of the conflict, but had their plan obstructed and blocked by France. [37]

As they did during the invasion of Iraq, the political ranks have started to show breaks in London. Conservative parliamentarians in the British Parliament, such as John Baron, David Davis, and Peter Bone, are starting to criticize their leader, Prime Minister Cameron. [38]
Baron told the British press that the war on Libya has changed significantly: “When it was put before the House, the emphasis was very much on humanitarian assistance. This has changed into a mission of regime change [in Libya].” [39]

The Geo-Politics of Dividing Libya

Of significance, Washington does not want to have a visible presence in the war in North Africa. It has deliberately let its allies take the lead in the operation and painstakingly tried to distance itself from the war. It has presented itself as cautious and reluctant to go to war. [40] Washington’s allies are in reality acting on behalf of the Empire. NATO is also in the process of performing the role of global military force acting indirectly on behalf of the United States.

This war is not exclusively about controlling energy reserves and the Libyan economy. The war also encompasses a strategy to entrench U.S. and E.U. control over Africa as well balkanize the entire African region. The U.S. and the E.U. were adamant regarding Tripoli’s project to develop and unify Africa, as opposed to the neocolonial strategy of maintaining Africa as a provider of raw materials and (unmanufactured) natural resources. [41]

It is worth noting, in this regard, that the Director of National Intelligence, in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee during a session focusing on Libya, stated that Russia and China constitute “mortal threats” to the United States. [42] The war in Libya is also meant to shore up the drive into Eurasia, which targets Russia, China, Iran, and Central Asia.

The Arab sister-republics of Lebanon and Syria are targets too. Syria has been destabilized and the groundwork is underway in Lebanon with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). Control over Libya, Syria, and Lebanon would also complete the Mediterranean Union, which is a geo-political project of the E.U. and Washington to control the entire Mediterranean. [43]

Towards An African NATO

The war against Libya will also be used to create a NATO-like military structure in Africa that will be tied to AFRICOM. While speaking to the U.S. Senate Arms Services Committee, General Ham of AFRICOM pointed out that a military partnership with African states and support for regional military cooperation in Africa were strategic for Washington. General Ham was pointing to the fact that U.S. was planting the seeds of a NATO-like military structure in Africa that would be subordinate to Washington. In General Ham’s own words:

Secondly, building the Coalition to address the situation in Libya was greatly facilitated through the benefits of longstanding relationships and inter-operability, in this case through NATO. This is the kind of regional approach to security that U.S. Africa Command seeks to foster on the continent [of Africa]. U.S. Africa Command’s priority efforts remain building the security capacity of our African partners. We incorporate regional cooperation and pursuit of inter-operability, in all of our programs, activities, and exercises so our African partners are postured to readily form coalitions to address African security challenges as they arise. [44]

Libya is the crown of Africa and from Libya there is a perfect opening for the U.S., NATO, and the E.U. into the African continent. U.S. and NATO bases may also be established in the eastern portion of Libya and used as a staging ground for a possible war against Sudan. These bases could be established at the request of the Transitional Council and justified as a means of providing stability to North Africa and as a means of protecting the Libyan people in Benghazi.

The Destruction of the Libyan State

Washington and the E.U. want to privatize the Libyan public sector under the control of their corporations, take over Libyan industries, and control every aspect of the Libyan economy. On March 19, 2011 the Transitional Council declared that it had established a new Benghazi-based Libyan oil corporation and a new national bank under the auspicious of the Central Bank of Benghazi, which would be responsible for all of Libya’s monetary policies. [45] The new Benghazi-based institutions are an opening for an economic invasion and the colonization of Libya. The Central Bank of Benghazi, which is controlled by Britain’s Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), could also be given control of the Arab Banking Corporation, which could be used as an umbilical cord by Wall Street and Canary Wharf for infiltrating Libya.

The Benghazi-based Transitional Council is already starting the process of exporting oil with the aid of Qatar from the Libyan seaport of Tobruk (Tobruq) near the Egyptian border. [46] The countries and corporations trading with the Transitional Council are all breaching international law. This act is not only intended to weaken Libya, but it also criminal and a form of economic exploitation.

Moreover, Libyan oil will be used to finance weapons sales. The Transitional Council will use the funds from oil sales that it receives to purchase weapons to fight the Libyan military. This will also violate the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The Associated Press reported about this on April 1, 2011 saying:

A plan to sell rebel-held oil to buy weapons and other supplies has been reached with Qatar, a rebel official said Friday, in another sign of deepening aid for Libya’s opposition by the wealthy Gulf state after sending warplanes to help confront Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.

It was not immediately clear when the possible oil sales could begin or how the arms would reach the rebel factions, but any potential revenue stream would be a significant lifeline for the militias and military defectors battling Gadhafi’s superior forces. [47]

France, Italy, and Qatar have all recognized the Transitional Council as the government of Libya. [48] The U.S., Britain, Germany, Turkey, and their allies have also all given various forms of recognition to the Transitional Council. They are all working now to control the new institutions of the Benghazi administered areas of Libya. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is also hovering over Libya under the pretext of furthering democracy amongst the Arabs. [49] They all plan on profiting off the interests from the loans that they are now giving to the Transitional Council.

Two Parallel Administrations in Libya

The U.S. and the E.U. are trying to manipulate the Libyan people to their advantage; they are using the Libyan people as cannon fodder. The objective is to create a deadlock and foment chaos across North Africa. Even the sniper attacks on both Libyan sides could be the work of U.S., British, French, NATO, Egyptian, and Khaliji (Gulf) Arab agent provocateurs. The objective is to manipulate the Libyans into destroying their country from the within. The destruction of Yugoslavia, namely the “Balkanization of the Balkans” is the model which is being applied to Libya, leading to its division and political subordination to Washington and Brussels.

There have been discussions about splitting the country up, between the regimes in Tripoli and Benghazi. The government in Tripoli would keep everything from Tripoli to somewhere near Misurata, while the Transitional Council would get to administer all the territory in the east running to the Egyptian border. [50] Two parallel Libyan governments are at present a reality. Benghazi already has U.N., U.S., E.U., Qatari, British, French, German, Turkish, and Italian diplomatic missions.

As mentioned earlier, the U.S. and the E.U. waited until the Libyan military had reached the doors of Benghazi and the Transitional Council was nearly on its deathbed to take action. This was no mere coincidence. David Owen, a member of the British House of Lords is worth quoting about the timing of the military intervention: “Without it, within hours, Benghazi would have fallen, and [Colonel Qaddafi] would have won.” [51] This was made to insure the indispensability of NATO to an acquiescent Transitional Council.
Israel and Libya

The supporters of the Transitional Council accuse the Qaddafi regime of being supported by Israel, while they themselves are openly supported by NATO and the Arab petro-sheikhdoms, which oppose democracy and freedom in their own countries. Both sides in Libya have to realize that NATO and Israel, as well as Saudi Arabia and the Arab petro-sheikhdoms, are allies and work closely together against the legitimate aspirations of the Arab peoples. They are merely being played one against the other.

Israel is also involved in this equation. The visit of Bernard-Henri Lévy to Benghazi serves Israeli interests. [52] Tel Aviv has sought to play both sides. Rumours about an Israeli plan to establish a military base on the Libyan eastern border with Egypt have also been circulating for months. What should also be considered is that just like the natural gas deal between Israel and Egypt, where Egyptian natural gas was sold to Israel below market prices, Libyan water from the Great Man-Made River could be diverted to Israel from a pipeline running through Egypt. Like South Sudan, it is being said that the Transitional Council will recognize Israel. Lévy has also said that the Transitional Council has told him that they intend to recognize Israel. [53]

The Role of Banks and Currency in the War on Libya

Banks have a role to play in this war. U.S. and European financial institutions are major players. The vast overseas financial holdings and sovereign funds owned by Libya are the “spoils of war” accruing to major Western banks and financial institutions.

In 2008, Goldman Sachs was given 1.3 billion dollars (U.S.) by the Libyan Investment Authority. [54] In unfathomable terms, Goldman Sachs told the Libyans that 98% of the investment value was lost, which means that the Libyans lost almost all their investment. [55] Goldman Sachs had merely appropriated Libya’s money wealth. The Libyan government and Goldman Sachs would then try to work something out by giving Libya huge shares in Goldman Sachs, but the negotiations failed in 2009. Nor was Goldman Sachs alone in taking Libyan money; the Société Générale SA, the Carlyle Group, J.P. Morgan Chase, Och-Ziff Capital Management Group and Lehman Brothers Holdings were all also holding vast amounts of Libyan funds. [56]


Signs of Hope: Libya’s Promise of Tomorrow. A New Strategic Axis?

The Libyans have realized that they need to continue on a pan-African path and to follow a model of self-sufficiency. Many in Tripoli have also started thinking about the future. Old disputes and animosities may also be put aside with other global players that are opposed to U.S. hegemony and opposed to NATO.

A strategic axis between Libya, Algeria, Syria, and Iran that will later include Lebanon may blossom as the Libyans begin to explore their strategic options on the political and security levels. Libya has realized that it has made mistakes and now knows that it must find a place in some sort of a global counter-alliance against the U.S. and its allies. Tripoli will eventually try to find a strategic equilibrium for itself in a geo-strategic concept that will balance Russia, China, and Iran.

A new strategic concept for the Libyans would also include Venezuela and the Bolivarian Bloc in Latin America. Venezuela, along with Syria, has been Libya’s staunchest supporter during the NATO war.

Eventually, Lebanon and Libya will also mend fences. The dossier of Musa Al-Sadr only remains between Lebanon and Libya on the insistence of Nabih Berri. The upper echelons within Hezbollah, including Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, have tried not to antagonize Berri and the leadership of the Amal Movement on the issue of Musa Al-Sadr as part of an effort to prevent divisions in the Shiite Muslim community of Lebanon, but if a strategic axis begins to form between Algeria, Libya, Syria, and Iran the issue of Al-Sadr will have to be resolved in Lebanon.

In France and Western Europe tensions are also rising internally and against Washington. Gaullism may become reinvigorated in a declining France. The people of Africa have also become even more aware of the exploitation of their continent and the importance of Libya to the rest of Africa.

Most importantly, the NATO bombings have helped bring much of Libya together too and have given the nation a new sense of mission.

The Libyan people have been reinvigorated with this sense of mission. They have been energized and a revolutionary spirit has been stirred and awakened in the youth.

When the dust settles, the people of Libya will begin to weed out political corruption. The worst enemy of all for the Libyans has been the enemy from within.

This war has chiefly been against the Libyan people. It has not been the Libyan military that has kept the country standing, but the Libyan people themselves and their resistance.

NATO has become tired and faces many internal and external pressures. Italy has now been forced to withdraw from the war. [58] Norway will also withdraw in August 2011. [59] France has even accepted what Paris and NATO refused to accept from the start of the conflict, namely to end the war and to stop bombing Libya if both sides in Tripoli and Benghazi start political talks. [60] In reality, Tripoli has been calling for political dialogue with an entire international chorus for months, but it has been the U.S. and the E.U. that have refused to listen. This also exposes the guilt of the U.S. and the E.U. in waging a war of aggression against Libya.

It should also be noted that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has also said that he was told that the war would end when the population of Tripoli revolted against Colonel Qaddafi. [61] This is a significant statement by the Italian Prime Minister. An analysis of cause and effect is very important here. It means that the war did not start as a result of any revolts, but was intended to instigate revolts against the Libyan government. This would explain why NATO has deliberately been targeting and punishing the civilian population. The aim has been to instigate them against Colonel Qaddafi.

The security of the familiar is gone. The issue of succession to Colonel Qaddafi was something that the Libyans thought little about or largely ignored prior to the conflict in Libya, but it is now something that has been addressed. If the war never happened, it is likely that there would have been a civil war in Libya once Qaddafi left. Now this is something that has been prepared for. Many of the corrupt people in Libya have also been exposed and have shown their true colours too. Libyans are no longer ignoring these problems as they did before.

Libya is not perfect and many of the Libyan people will be amongst the first to admit it. Now many of them are prepared to fix their problems at home for the sake of saving their country, their society, and their families. They face an uphill battle, but they are willing to fight and to make all the sacrifices needed for a better tomorrow. This inner recognition and will to change is the start of authentic change. These people will not give up even if NATO were to launch an invasion or increasing its bombings to devastating levels. Although the conflict is far from over, in the end history will judge the NATO war against Libya as a huge mistake and as the beginning of the end for NATO.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)


NOTES

•    [1] Henri Pierre Habib, Politics and Government of Revolutionary Libya (Montmagny, Québec: Le Cercle de Livre de France Ltée, 1975), pp.19-20.
•    [2] Ibid., p.68.
•    [3] Ibid.
•    [4] Ibid., pp.70-71.
•    [5] Ibid., p.72.
•    [6] Ibid., p.73.
•    [7] Eds. Fredrick Aandahl et al., The United Nation; The Western Hemisphere, vol. 2 of Foreign Relations of the United States 1951 (Washington, D.C.: United States Government, 1979), p.25.
•    [8] Ibid.
•    [9] Ibid.
•    [10] Ibid.
•    [11] Habib, Revolutionary Libya, Op. cit., p.19.
•    [12] Ibid., p.68
•    [13] Ibid., p.20.
•    [14] Ibid., p.2.
•    [15] Ibid., p.68.
•    [16] U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Testimony on the current and future worldwide threats to the national security of the United States, 112th Congress, 2011, 1st Session, 10 March 2011.
•    [17] Los Angeles Times, “3 Western powers sending military advisors to Libya,” April 20, 2011.
•    [18] Louis Charbonneau and Hamuda Hassan, “France defends arms airlift to Libyan rebels,” Reuters, June 30, 2011.
•    [19] Reuters, “Libya orders US diplomat to leave: report,” November 8, 2010.
•    [20] Ibid.; Voice of America (VOA), “US, Syria Clash Over Ambassador’s Hama Visit,” July 8, 2011; Bassem Mroué, “Syrian protesters attack US embassy,” Associated Press (AP), July 11, 2011.
•    [21] United States Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. European Command and U.S. Strategic Command in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2012 and the Future Years Defense Program,112th Congress, 2011, 1st Session, 29 March 2011; Infra. n.22 and n.61 (the bombings are meant to cause regime change).
•    [22] Infra. n.61; see the omission of the Italian Prime Minister that the NATO bombings are not a result of any revolt, but are intended to cause a revolt in Tripoli against Colonel Qaddafi.
•    [23] Harriet Sherwood, “UK paves way for flight of Libyan defectors,” The Guardian (U.K.), April 5, 2011; the important details on Hague’s announcement and London’s position are as follows: “Libyan ministers and officials who were prepared to abandon the regime would be ‘treated with respect and in accordance with our laws’, he added. ‘In the case of anyone currently sanctioned by the EU and UN who breaks definitively with the regime, we will discuss with our partners the merits of removing the restrictions that currently apply to them, while being clear that this does not constitute any form of immunity whatsoever.’”
•    [24] Charles Levinson, Ex-Mujahedeen Help Lead Libyan Rebels, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), April 2, 2011.
•    [25] This information has been passed on through numerous sources on the ground in Libya including members of the Non-Governmental Fact Finding Commission on the Current Events in Libya.
•    [26] Robin Cook, “The struggle against terrorism cannot be won by military means,” The Guardian (U.K.), July 8, 2005.
•    [27] “Arms Embargo – NATO Boarding,” The NATO Channel (May 24, 2011); Mike Mühlberger was the videos producer and reporter. Because of the legal ramifications this video would have NATO removed this video.
•    [28] Stephen Fidler, Charles Levinson, and Alistair Mcdonald, “Friendly Fire Raises Tensions in Libya,” The Wall Street Journal, April 8, 2011.
•    [29] Tara Bahrampour, “Libyan rebels struggle to explain rift,” The Washington Post, April 2, 2011; Transitional Council leadership statements to the international press about the death of its volunteers are as follows: “‘It was a terrible mistake, and we apologize, and we will not let it happen again,’ said Abdul Hafidh Ghoga, vice president and spokesman of the opposition’s Transitional National Council.”
•    [30] Atul Aneja, “AU begins mediation as Qadhafi forces advance,” The Hindu, April 11, 2011.
•    [31] Elle Ide, “Italy recognizes Libyan opposition council,” Associated Press (AP), April 4, 2011.
•    [32] Chris McGreal and Harriet Sherwood, “Libya: Gaddafi has accepted roadmap to peace, says Zuma,” The Guardian (U.K.), April 11, 2011; Quoting from the article: “The [African Union] delegation, consisting of the presidents of South Africa, Congo-Brazzaville, Mali and Mauritania, plus Uganda’s foreign minister, landed at Tripoli’s Mitiga airport after Nato gave permission for their aircraft to enter Libyan airspace. The planes were the first to land in Tripoli since the international coalition imposed a no-fly zone over the country more than two weeks ago.”
•    [33] Simon Denyer and Leila Fadel, “Gaddafi accepts African Union’s road map for peace,” The Washington Post, April 10, 2011.
•    [34] Ian Black, “Libya’s biggest tribe joins march of reconciliation to Benghazi,” The Guardian (U.K.), March 23, 2011; On a personal note, I also was told by sources inside Tunisia and Libya that any people attempting reconciliation marches were attacked.
•    [35] Maria Golovnina, “Libya pledges constitution but Gaddafi role unclear,” Reuters, April 10, 2011.
•    [36] Michael Georgy, “McCain visits rebels, Libya adjusts Misrata tactics,” Reuters, August 22, 2011.
•    [37] Solomon Hughes and Kim Sengupta, “Gaddafi regime staked £12bn on secret deal in bid to open peace talks,” The Independent (U.K.), June 10, 2011.
•    [38] The Daily Mail (U.K.), “MPs rebel over Libya mission creep as Cameron, Obama and Sarkozy promise to keep bombing until Gaddafi regime is gone,” April 15, 2011.
•    [39] Ibid.
•    [40] Julian Borger and Ewen MacAskill, “No-fly zone plan goes nowhere as US, Russia and Nato urge caution,” The Guardian (U.K.), March 1, 2011.
•    [41] Discussion with Mohammed Siala (Libyan Minister of International Cooperation), July 4, 2011.
•    [42] U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Testimony on the current, Op. cit.
•    [43] Lebanon and Syria are already members and Libya is an observer member. Libya was scheduled to become a full member, but Colonel Qaddafi changed his mind, which upset France and the European Union.
•    [44] U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. Transportation Command, Op. cit.
•    [45] William Varner, “Libyan Rebel Council Forms Oil Company to Replace Qaddafi’s,” Bloomberg, March 22, 2011.
•    [46] Al Jazeera, “Libyan rebels ‘disappointed’ by NATO, April 5, 2011; Atul Aneja, “Opposition allies mull ‘political solution’ in Libya,” The Hindu, April 8, 2011.
•    [47] Brian Murphy and Adam Schreck, “Libyan opposition says it has oil deal with Qatar,” Associated Press (AP), April 1, 2011.
•    [48] Scott Peterson, “Italy rejects Qaddafi, recognizes Libyan rebel government,” Christian Science Monitor, April 4, 2011.
•    [49] Daryna Krasnolutska and Agnes Lovasz, “North African and Mideast Democracy a Condition for EBRD Loans, Mirow Says,” Bollomberg, April 21, 2011.
•    [50] Alan Fisher, “Libya leaders talk exit strategy,” Al Jazeera, March 4, 2011.
•    [51] Ibid.
•    [52] Kim Willsher, “Libya: Bernard-Henri Lévy dismisses criticism for leading France to conflict,” The Observer, March 27, 2011.
•    [53] Radio France Internationale, “Libyan rebels will recognise Israel, Bernard-Henri Lévy tells Netanyahu,” June 2, 2011.
•    [54] Margaret Coker and Liz Rappaport, “Libya’s Goldman Dalliance Ends in Losses, Acrimony,” The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), May 31, 2011.
•    [55] Ibid.
•    [56] Ibid.
•    [57] The Daily Mail (U.K.), “U.S. rescue chopper shoots six Libyan villagers as they welcome pilots of downed Air Force jet,” March 22, 2011.
•    [58] Voice of America (VOA), “Berlusconi Opposes Libya Mission; Rome Cuts Involvement,” July 7, 2011.
•    [59] Agence-France Presse (AFP), “Nato capabilities will be exhausted within 90 days in Libya,” July 11, 2011.
•    [60] Agence-France Presse (AFP), “France backs ‘political solutions’ in Libya crisis,” July 11, 2011.
•    [61] Lamine Chikhi et al., “Italy’s Berlusconi exposes NATO rifts over Libya,” ed. Elizabeth Fullerton, Reuters, July 7, 2011; Nicolas Carey (who was expelled from Tripoli and managed to immediately reappear in Misurata) also contributed to this report. As a note the reporting of Carey has to be carefully scrutinized.

We journalists are intellectual prostitutes

John Swainton

Honest Journalist – A Posthumous Honoree

“There is not one of you who would dare to write his honest opinion.” John Swainton of the New York Times told colleagues at his retirement party in 1870. “The business of a journalist now is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, fall at the feet of Mammon and sell himself for his daily bread. We are tools, vessels of rich men behind the scenes, we are jumping jacks. They pull the strings; we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are the properties of these men. We are intellectual prostitutes.” So saying, he sailed away into an honest retirement.

— quoted in the INDEX on Censorship , Vol. 30, No. 1, January 2001, p. 10.

Who is Behind Wikileaks?

Who is Behind Wikileaks?

 

By Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, December 13, 2010

 

“World bankers, by pulling a few simple levers that control the flow of money, can make or break entire economies. By controlling press releases of economic strategies that shape national trends, the power elite are able to not only tighten their stranglehold on this nation’s economic structure, but can extend that control world wide. Those possessing such power would logically want to remain in the background, invisible to the average citizen.” (Aldus Huxley)

Wikleaks is upheld as a breakthrough in the battle against media disinformation and the lies of the US government.

Unquestionably, the released documents constitute an important and valuable data bank. The documents have been used by critical researchers since the outset of the Wikileaks project. Wikileaks earlier revelations have focussed on US war crimes in Afghanistan (July 2010) as well as issues pertaining to civil liberties and the “militarization of the Homeland” (see Tom Burghardt, Militarizing the “Homeland” in Response to the Economic and Political Crisis, Global Research, October 11, 2008)

In October 2010, WikiLeaks was reported to have released some 400,000 classified Iraq war documents, covering events from 2004 to 2009 (Tom Burghardt, The WikiLeaks Release: U.S. Complicity and Cover-Up of Iraq Torture Exposed, Global Research, October 24, 2010). These revelations contained in the Wikileaks Iraq War Logs provide “further evidence of the Pentagon’s role in the systematic torture of Iraqi citizens by the U.S.-installed post-Saddam regime.” (Ibid)

Progressive organizations have praised the Wikileaks endeavor. Our own website Global Research has provided extensive coverage of the Wikileaks project. 

The leaks are heralded as an immeasurable victory against corporate media censorship.

But there [is] more than meets the eye.

Even prior to the launching of the project, the mainstream media had contacted Wikileaks.

There are also reports from published email exchanges that Wikileaks had entered into negotiations with several corporate foundations for funding. (Wikileaks Leak email exchanges, January 2007).

The linchpin of WikiLeaks’s financial network is Germany’s Wau Holland Foundation. … “We’re registered as a library in Australia, we’re registered as a foundation in France, we’re registered as a newspaper in Sweden,” Mr. Assange said. WikiLeaks has two tax-exempt charitable organizations in the U.S., known as 501C3s, that “act as a front” for the website, he said. He declined to give their names, saying they could “lose some of their grant money because of political sensitivities.”

Mr. Assange said WikiLeaks gets about half its money from modest donations processed by its website, and the other half from “personal contacts,” including “people with some millions who approach us….” (WikiLeaks Keeps Funding Secret, WSJ.com, August 23, 2010)

At the outset in early 2007, Wikileaks acknowledges that it was “founded by Chinese dissidents, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa”…. [Its advisory board]  includes representatives from expat Russian and Tibetan refugee communities, reporters, a former US intelligence analyst and cryptographers.” (Wikileaks Leak email exchanges, January 2007).

Wikileaks formulated its mandate on its website as follows: [Wikileaks will be] “an uncensorable version of Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations,” CBC News – Website wants to take whistleblowing online, January 11, 2007, emphasis added).

This mandate was confirmed by Julian Assange in a June 2010 interview in The New Yorker:

“Our primary targets are those highly oppressive regimes in China, Russia and Central Eurasia, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the West who wish to reveal illegal or immoral behavior in their own governments and corporations. In an invitation to potential collaborators in 2006, he wrote, “Our primary targets are those highly oppressive regimes in China, Russia and Central Eurasia, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the West who wish to reveal illegal or immoral behavior in their own governments and corporations….” (quoted in  WikiLeaks and Julian Paul Assange : The New Yorker, June 7, 2010, emphasis added)

Assange also intimated that “exposing secrets” “could potentially bring down many administrations that rely on concealing reality—including the US administration.” (Ibid) 

From the outset, Wikileaks’ geopolitical focus on “oppressive regimes” in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Central Asia was “appealing” to the America’s elites, i.e. it was supportive of US foreign policy.

Moreover, the composition of the Wikileaks team (which included Chinese dissidents), not to mention the methodology of “exposing secrets” of foreign governments, were also in line with the practices of US covert operations geared towards triggering “regime change” and color revolutions in different parts of the World.   

The Role of the Corporate Media: The Central Role of the New York Times

Wikileaks is not a typical alternative media initiative. The New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel are directly involved in the editing and selection of leaked documents. The Economist and Time Magazine have also played an important role.

While the project and its editor Julian Assange reveal a commitment and concern for truth in media, the recent Wikileaks releases of embassy cables have been carefully “redacted” by the mainstream media in liaison with the US government. (See Interview with David E. Sanger, Fresh Air, PBS, December 8, 2010)

This collaboration between Wikileaks and selected mainstream media is not fortuitous; it was part of an agreement between several major US and European newspapers and Wikileaks’ editor Julian Assange. 

The important question is who controls and oversees the selection, distribution and editing of released documents to the broader public?

What US foreign policy objectives are being served through this redacting process? 

Is Wikileaks part of an awakening of public opinion, of a battle against the lies and fabrications which appear daily in the print media and on network TV?

If so, how can this battle against media disinformation be waged with the participation and collaboration of the corporate architects of media disinformation.

Julian Assange has enlisted the architects of media disinformation to fight media disinformation: An incongruous and self-defeating procedure.    

America’s corporate media and more specifically The New York Times are an integral part of the economic establishment, with links to Wall Street, the Washington think tanks, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Moreover, the US corporate media has developed a longstanding relationship to the US intelligence apparatus, going back to “Operation Mocking Bird”, an initiative of the CIA’s Office of Special Projects (OSP), established in the early 1950s.

Even before the Wikileaks project got off the ground, the mainstream media was implicated. A role was defined and agreed upon for the corporate media not only in the release, but also in the selection and editing of the leaks. In a bitter irony, the “professional media” to use Julian Assange’s words in an interview with The Economist, have been partners in the Wikileaks project from the outset.

Moreover, key journalists with links to the US foreign policy-national security intelligence establishment have worked closely with Wikileaks, in the distribution and dissemination of the leaked documents.

In a bitter irony, Wikileaks partner The New York Times, which has consistently promoted media disinformation is now being accused of conspiracy. For what? For revealing the truth? Or for manipulating the truth? In the words of Senator Joseph L. Lieberman:

“I certainly believe that WikiLleaks has violated the Espionage Act, but then what about the news organizations — including The Times — that accepted it and distributed it?” Mr. Lieberman said, adding: “To me, The New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship, and whether they have committed a crime, I think that bears a very intensive inquiry by the Justice Department.” (WikiLeaks Prosecution Studied by Justice Department – NYTimes.com, December 7, 2010)

This “redacting” role of The New York Times is candidly acknowledged by David E Sanger, Chief Washington correspondent of the NYT:

“[W]e went through [the cables] so carefully to try to redact material that we thought could be damaging to individuals or undercut ongoing operations. And we even took the very unusual step of showing the 100 cables or so that we were writing from to the U.S. government and asking them if they had additional redactions to suggest.” (See PBS Interview; The Redacting and Selection of Wikileaks documents by the Corporate Media, PBS interview on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross: December 8, 2010, emphasis added).

Yet he also says later in the interview:

 “It is the responsibility of American journalism, back to the founding of this country, to get out and try to grapple with the hardest issues of the day and to do it independently of the government.” (ibid)

“Do it independently of the government” while at the same time “asking them [the US government] if they had additional redactions to suggest”?

David  E. Sanger cannot be described as a model independent journalist. He is member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Aspen Institute’s Strategy Group which regroups the likes of Madeleine K. Albright, Condoleeza Rice, former Defense Secretary William Perry, former CIA head John Deutch, the president of the World Bank, Robert. B. Zoellick and Philip Zelikow, former executive director of the 9/11 Commission, among other prominent establishment figures. (See also F. William Engdahl, Wikileaks: A Big Dangerous US Government Con Job,  Global Research, December 10, 2010). 

It is worth noting that several American journalists, members of the Council on Foreign Relations have interviewed Wikileaks, including Time Magazine’s Richard Stengel (November 30, 2010) and The New Yorker’s Raffi Khatchadurian. (WikiLeaks and Julian Paul Assange : The New Yorker, June 11, 2007)

Historically, The New York Times has served the interests of the Rockefeller family in the context of a longstanding relationship. The current New York Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, son of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger and grandson of Arthur Hays Sulzberger who served as a Trustee for the Rockefeller Foundation. Ethan Bronner, deputy foreign editor of The New York Times as well as Thomas Friedman among others are members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

In turn, the Rockefellers have an important stake as shareholders of several US corporate media. (Membership Roster – Council on Foreign Relations)

The Embassy and State Department Cables

It should come as no surprise that David E. Sanger and his colleagues at the NYT centered their attention on a highly “selective” dissemination of the Wikileaks cables, focussing on areas which would support US foreign policy interests: Iran’s nuclear program, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan’s support of Al Qaeda, China’s relations with North Korea, etc. These releases were then used as source material in NYT articles and commentary. 

The Embassy and State Department cables released by Wikileaks were redacted and filtered. They were used for propaganda purposes. They do not constitute a complete and continuous set of memoranda.

From a selected list of cables, the leaks are being used to justify a foreign policy agenda. A case in point is Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, which is the object of numerous State Department memos, as well Saudi Arabia’s support of Islamic terrorism. 

Iran’s Nuclear Program

The leaked cables are used to feed the disinformation campaign concerning Iran’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. While the leaked cables are heralded as “evidence” that Iran constitutes a threat, the lies and fabrications of the corporate media concerning Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program are not mentioned, nor is there any mention of them in the leaked cables. 

The leaks, once they are funnelled into the corporate news chain, edited and redacted by the New York Times, indelibly serve the broader interests of US foreign policy, including US-NATO-Israel war preparations directed against Iran.

With the regard to “leaked intelligence” and the coverage of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, David E. Sanger has played a crucial role. In November 2005, The New York Times published a report co-authored by David E. Sanger and William J. Broad entitled “Relying on Computer, U.S. Seeks to Prove Iran’s Nuclear Aims”.

The article refers to mysterious documents on a stolen Iranian laptop computer which included  “a series of drawings of a missile re-entry vehicle” which allegedly could accommodate an Iranian produced nuclear weapon:

“In mid-July, senior American intelligence officials called the leaders of the international atomic inspection agency to the top of a skyscraper overlooking the Danube in Vienna and unveiled the contents of what they said was a stolen Iranian laptop computer.

The Americans flashed on a screen and spread over a conference table selections from more than a thousand pages of Iranian computer simulations and accounts of experiments, saying they showed a long effort to design a nuclear warhead, according to a half-dozen European and American participants in the meeting.

The documents, the Americans acknowledged from the start, do not prove that Iran has an atomic bomb. They presented them as the strongest evidence yet that, despite Iran’s insistence that its nuclear program is peaceful, the country is trying to develop a compact warhead to fit atop its Shahab missile, which can reach Israel and other countries in the Middle East.”(William J. Broad and David E. Sanger Relying on Computer, U.S. Seeks to Prove Iran’s Nuclear Aims – New York Times, November 13, 2005)

These “secret documents” were subsequently submitted by the US State Department to the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA, with a view to demonstrating that Iran was developing a nuclear weapons program. They were also used as a pretext to enforce the economic sanctions regime directed against Iran, adopted by the UN Security Council. 

While their authenticity has been questioned, a recent article by investigative reporter Gareth Porter confirms unequivocally that the mysterious laptop documents are fake. (See Gareth Porter, Exclusive Report: Evidence of Iran Nuclear Weapons Program May Be Fraudulent, Global Research, November 18, 2010)

The drawings contained in the documents leaked by William J. Broad and David E. Sanger do not pertain to the Shahab missile but to an obsolete North Korean missile system which was decommissioned by Iran in the mid-1990s. The drawings presented by US State Department officials pertained to the “Wrong Missile Warhead”:

In July 2005, … Robert Joseph, US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, made a formal presentation on the purported Iranian nuclear weapons program documents to the agency’s leading officials in Vienna. Joseph flashed excerpts from the documents on the screen, giving special attention to the series of technical drawings or “schematics” showing 18 different ways of fitting an unidentified payload into the re-entry vehicle or “warhead” of Iran’s medium-range ballistic missile, the Shahab-3. When IAEA analysts were allowed to study the documents, however, they discovered that those schematics were based on a re-entry vehicle that the analysts knew had already been abandoned by the Iranian military in favor of a new, improved design. The warhead shown in the schematics had the familiar “dunce cap” shape of the original North Korean No Dong missile, which Iran had acquired in the mid-1990s. … The laptop documents had depicted the wrong re-entry vehicle being redesigned. … (Gareth Porter, op cit, emphasis added

David E, Sanger, who worked diligently with Wikileaks under the banner of truth and transparency was also instrumental in the New York Times “leak” of what Gareth Porter describes as fake intelligence. (Ibid)

While this issue of fake intelligence received virtually no media coverage, it invalidates outright Washington’s assertions regarding Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons.

In a bitter irony, the selective redacting of the embassy cables by the NYT has usefully served not only to dismiss the issue of fake intelligence but also to reinforce Washington’s claim that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. A case in point is a November 2010 article co-authored by David E. Sanger, which quotes the Wikileaks cables as a source;

“Iran obtained 19 of the missiles from North Korea, according to a [Wikileaks] cable dated Feb. 24 of this year…. (WikiLeaks Archive — Iran Armed by North Korea – NYTimes.com, November 28, 2010).

These missiles are said to have the “capacity to strike at capitals in Western Europe or easily reach Moscow, and American officials warned that their advanced propulsion could speed Iran’s development of intercontinental ballistic missiles.” (Ibid, emphasis added). 

Wikileaks, Iran and the Arab World

The released wikileaks cables have also being used to create divisions between Iran on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States on the other:

“After WikiLeaks claimed that certain Arab states are concerned about Iran’s nuclear program and have urged the U.S. to take [military] action to contain Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took advantage of the issue and said that the released cables showed U.S. concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program are shared by the international community.” Tehran Times : WikiLeaks promoting Iranophobia, December 5, 2010)

The Western media has jumped on this opportunity and has quoted the State Department memoranda released by Wikleaks with a view to upholding Iran as a threat to global security as well as fostering divisions between Iran and the Arab world.

“The Global War on Terrorism”

The leaks quoted by the Western media reveal the support of the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia to several Islamic terrorist organization, a fact which is known and amply documented.

What the reports fail to mention, however, which is crucial in an understanding of the “Global War on Terrorism”, is that US intelligence historically has channelled its support to terrorist organizations via Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. (See Michel Chossudovsky, America’s “War on Terrorism”, Global Research, Montreal, 2005). These are covert intelligence operations using Saudi and Pakistani intelligence as intermediaries.

The use of the Wikleaks documents by the media tend to sustain the illusion that the CIA has nothing to do with the terror network and that Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are “providing the lion’s share of funding” to Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, among others, when in fact this financing is undertaken in liaison with their US intelligence counterparts. 

“The information came to light in the latest round of documents released Sunday by Wikileaks. In their communiques to the State Department, U.S. embassies in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states describe a situation in which wealthy private donors, often openly, lavishly support the same groups against whom Saudi Arabia claims to be fighting.” ( Wikileaks: Saudis, Gulf States Big Funders of Terror Groups – Defense/Middle East – Israel News – Israel National News)

Similarly, with regard to Pakistan:

The cables, obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to a number of news organizations, make it clear that underneath public reassurances lie deep clashes [between the U.S. and Pakistan] over strategic goals on issues like Pakistan’s support for the Afghan Taliban and tolerance of Al Qaeda,…” (Wary Dance With Pakistan in Nuclear World, The New York Times December 1, 2010)

The corporate media’s use and interpretation of the Wikileaks cables serves to uphold two related myths:

1) Iran has nuclear weapons program and constitutes a threat to global security.

2) Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are state sponsors of Al Qaeda. They are financing Islamic terrorist organizations which are intent upon attacking the US States and its NATO allies.

The CIA and the Corporate Media

The CIA’s relationship to the US media is amply documented. The New York Times continues to entertain a close relationship with not only with US intelligence, but also with the Pentagon and more recently with the Department of Homeland Security.  

“Operation Mocking Bird” was an initiative of the CIA’s Office of Special Projects (OSP), established in the early 1950s. Its objective was to exert influence on both the US as well as foreign media. From the 1950s, members of the US media were routinely enlisted by the CIA.  

The inner workings of the CIA’s relationship to the US media are described in Carl Bernstein’s 1977 article in Rolling Stone entitled The CIA and the Media:

[M]ore than 400 American journalists who [had] secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. [1950-1977]Some of these journalists’ relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. … Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners,… Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work….;  

Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were Williarn Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Tirne Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the LouisviIle CourierḀJournal, and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, ScrippsḀHoward, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York HeraldTribune. The CIA and the Media by Carl Bernstein

Bernstein suggests, in this regard, that “the CIA’s use of the American news media has been much more extensive than Agency officials have acknowledged publicly or in closed sessions with members of Congress” (Ibid).

In recent years, the CIA’s relationship to the media has become increasingly complex and sophisticated. We are dealing with a mammoth propaganda network involving a number of agencies of government.

Media disinformation has become institutionalized. The lies and fabrications have become increasingly blatant when compared to the 1950s. The US media has become the mouthpiece of US foreign policy. Disinformation is routinely “planted” by CIA operatives in the newsroom of major dailies, magazines and TV channels:

“A relatively few well-connected correspondents provide the scoops, that get the coverage in the relatively few mainstream news sources, where the parameters of debate are set and the “official reality” is consecrated for the bottom feeders in the news chain.”

(Chaim Kupferberg, The Propaganda Preparation of 9/11, Global Research, September 19, 2002)

Since 2001, the US media has assumed a new role in sustaining the Global War on Terrorism and camouflaging US sponsored war crimes. In the wake of 9/11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld created the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), or “Office of Disinformation” as it was labeled by its critics: “The Department of Defense said they needed to do this, and they were going to actually plant stories that were false in foreign countries — as an effort to influence public opinion across the world. (Interview with Steve Adubato, Fox News, 26 December 2002, see also Michel Chossudovsky, War Propaganda, January 3, 2003).

Today’s corporate media is an instrument of war propaganda, which begs the question as to why the NYT would all of a sudden promote transparency and truth in media, by assisting Wikileaks in “spreading the word”; and that people around the World would not pause for one moment and question the basis of this incongruous relationship.    

On the surface, nothing proves that Wikileaks was a CIA covert operation. However, given the corporate media’s cohesive and structured relationship to US intelligence, not to mention the links of individual journalists to the military-national security establishment, the issue of a CIA sponsored PsyOp must necessarily be addressed.

Wikileaks Social and Corporate Entourage

Wikileaks and The Economist have also entered into what seems to be a contradictory relationship. Wikileaks founder and editor Julian Assange was granted in 2008 The Economist’s New Media Award.

The Economist has a close relationship to Britain’s financial elites. It is an establishment news outlet, which has consistently supported Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war. It bears the stamp of the Rothschild family. Sir Evelyn Robert Adrian de Rothschild was chairman of The Economist from 1972 to 1989. His wife Lynn Forester de Rothschild currently sits on The Economist’s board. The Rothschild family also has a sizeable shareholder interest in The Economist. 

The broader question is why would Julian Assange receive the support from Britain’s foremost establishment news outfit which has consistently been involved in media disinformation?

Are we not dealing with a case of “manufactured dissent”, whereby the process of supporting and rewarding Wikileaks for its endeavors, becomes a means of controlling and manipulating the Wikileaks project, while at the same time embedding it into the mainstream media.

It is also worth mentioning another important link. Julian Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens of Finers Stephens Innocent (FSI), a major London elite law, happens to be the legal adviser to the Rothschild Waddesdon Trust. While this in itself does prove anything, it should nonetheless be examined in the broader context of Wikileaks’ social and corporate entourage: the NYT, the CFR, The Economist, Time Magazine, Forbes, Finers Stephens Innocent (FSI), etc. 

Manufacturing Dissent

Wikileaks has the essential features of a process of “manufactured dissent”. It seeks to expose government lies. It has released important information on US war crimes. But once the project becomes embedded in the mould of mainstream journalism, it is used as an instrument of media disinformation:

“It is in the interest of the corporate elites to accept dissent and protest as a feature of the system inasmuch as they do not threaten the established social order. The purpose is not to repress dissent, but, on the contrary, to shape and mould the protest movement, to set the outer limits of dissent. To maintain their legitimacy, the economic elites favor limited and controlled forms of opposition…  To be effective, however, the process of “manufacturing dissent” must be carefully regulated and monitored by those who are the object of the protest movement “

(See Michel Chossudovsky,  “Manufacturing Dissent”: the Anti-globalization Movement is Funded by the Corporate Elites, September 2010)

What this examination of the Wikileaks project also suggests is that the mechanics of New World Order propaganda, particularly with regard to its military agenda, has become increasingly sophisticated.

It no longer relies on the outright suppression of the facts regarding US-NATO war crimes. Nor does it require that the reputation of government officials at the highest levels, including the Secretary of State, be protected. New World Order politicians are in a sense “disposable”. They can be replaced. What must be protected and sustained are the interests of the economic elites, which control the political apparatus from behind the scenes.

In the case of Wikileaks, the facts are contained in a data bank; many of those facts, particularly those pertaining to foreign governments serve US foreign policy interests. Other facts tend, on the other hand to discredit the US administration.

All these facts are selectively redacted, they are then “analyzed” and interpreted by a media which serves the economic elites. 

While the numerous facts contained in the Wikileaks data bank are accessible, the broader public will not normally take the trouble to consult and scan through the Wikileaks data bank. The public will read the redacted selections and interpretations presented in major news outlets.

A partial and biased picture is presented. The redacted version is accepted by public opinion because it is based on what is heralded as a reliable source, when in fact what is presented in the pages of major newspapers and on network TV is a carefully crafted and convoluted distortion of the truth.

Limited forms of critical debate and “transparency” are tolerated while also enforcing broad public acceptance of the basic premises of US foreign policy, including its “Global War on Terrorism”. With regard to a large segment of the US antiwar movement, this strategy seems to have succeeded: “We are against war but we support the “war on terrorism”.

What this means is that truth in media can only be reached by dismantling the propaganda apparatus, –i.e. breaking the legitimacy of the corporate media which sustains the broad interests of the economic elites as well America’s global military design.

In turn, we must ensure that the campaign against Wikileaks in the U.S., using the 1917 Espionage Act, will not be utilized as a means to wage a campaign to control the internet. 

 

Who Has The Crystal Ball?

Who Has The Crystal Ball?

By Paul Craig Roberts
Global Research, November 2, 2010

My conservative and Republican acquaintances believe that the “liberal media” is destroying America.  When I ask them to identify the liberal media, the usual reply is,  “all of it!”  I ask them about Fox “News,” CNN, and point out that the TV networks are no longer independent but parts of large corporate conglomerates and that all of the “liberal” news anchors have been fired or died off.
At that point my acquaintances fall back on the New York Times and the Washington Post.

I remind them that the invasion of Iraq would not have been possible without the New York Times leading the way.  Judith Miller filled that newspaper with the neoconservative/Bush regime propaganda that was orchestrated to make the public accept US aggression toward Iraq. The Times later sort of apologized and Miller departed the paper.

That left the Washington Post, apparently long a CIA asset, as the “liberal media” that is destroying America, until on October 31 the paper’s long-time pundit, David Broder, wrote that Obama should spend the next two years disarming the Republicans and renewing the economy by orchestrating a showdown with Iran. Going to war with Iran, “the greatest threat to the world,” would simultaneously unite Republicans with Obama and restore the economy. By following Broder’s prescription, Obama “will have made the world safer and may be regarded as one of the most successful presidents in history.”

Here we have the “liberal” Broder at the “liberal” Washington Post advocating the neoconservative’s desired war with Iran.

The irony deepens.  My acquaintances regard Obama as a Marxist and a Muslim. It does not occur to my acquaintances that the military/security complex and Wall Street would not put a Marxist in the White House, or that AIPAC would not put a Muslim in the White House, or that a Muslim would not have chosen a dual Israeli citizen as his chief of staff and staffed up his government with Jews friendly to Israel, or that a Muslim would not have renewed the war in Afghanistan and started new ones in Pakistan and Yeman, or that, if a Muslim, Obama would be averse to slaughtering Muslims in behalf of the neocons’ world hegemony agenda.

Chris Hedges writes in Truthdig:

“The American left is a phantom. It is conjured up by the right wing to tag Barack Obama as a socialist and used by the liberal class to justify its complacency and lethargy. It diverts attention from corporate power. It perpetuates the myth of a democratic system that is influenced by the votes of citizens, political platforms and the work of legislators. It keeps the world neatly divided into a left and a right. The phantom left functions as a convenient scapegoat. The right wing blames it for moral degeneration and fiscal chaos. The liberal class uses it to call for ‘moderation.’

The corporations that control mass communications conjure up the phantom of a left. They blame the phantom for our debacle. And they get us to speak in absurdities.”

But that’s America.  The people simply cannot put two and two together.  Thinking is not an activity of the American public.

Indeed, Americans are incapable of thought on any subject. 

Consider the latest bomb scare initially blamed on a young pro-American female student in Yemen who luckily was released before she was tortured and raped.  Allegedly, bombs disguised as printer ink modules passed through lax cargo security and were on their way to blow up something. Everyone immediately endorsed the story. UPS pilots urged US officials to tighten cargo screening worldwide. The US has sent a team into Yemen to take over security.

Somehow the security services that were unable to foil the 9/11 plot were able to penetrate this plot before it succeeded. 

Consider the timeliness of the foiled plot. British Airways Chairman Martin Broughton and other European officials recently accused the US of making inane demands on airline passengers, such as removing their shoes and separate examinations of laptop computers.  Broughton even declared: “Europe should not have to kowtow to the Americans every time they want something done to beef up security on US bound flights.” 

The owner of London’s Heathrow Airport agreed. The European Union has challenged the US requirement for European passengers to have online checks before boarding flights bound for the US, declaring the requirement a “burdensome measure.” 

Miraculously, a plot is exposed that brands British Airways, London’s Heathrow, and the EU as “soft on terrorism security.”  

Or what about this motive? The Obama regime wants to send CIA hunter-killer teams into Yemen to murder people suspected of hostility to America. CIA drones would be used to blow up suspects despite the proven fact that the CIA drones used in Afghanistan and in violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty mainly kill innocent people.

Yemen’s President, Ali Abdullah Saleh said that he opposes America’s violation of his country’s sovereignty, but, alas, it was the Yemeni President’s lax air cargo security that let the bombs through.  So his protests, too, are discredited by the lax security that enabled the printer ink plot. Unless US forces are in Yemen eliminating terrorists, the world is not safe.

Americans never ask the old Roman question, “who benefits?”

Consider, for example, the “underwear bomber.” How likely is it that Al Qaeda, allegedly having successfully outwitted all 16 US intelligence agencies, the National Security Council, NORAD, airport security, the Pentagon, and the security agencies of all US allies including Israel and brought down the World Trade towers and successfully attacked the Pentagon itself, would choose as a sequel blowing up a mere airliner with an underwear bomb, a shoe bomb, and a shampoo/toothpaste/underarm deodorant bomb?  Having acquired the stature associated with 9/11, blowing up an airliner is a big comedown in prestige. It conveys the image of a washed-up Al Qaeda.

Again, who benefits?  The most obvious beneficiary of the underwear bomber is the corporation that manufactures the full body scanners that show people as if they are naked.  Obviously, the machines were already produced and awaiting a contract.  Without the underwear bomber and the hype and fear the media generated over the new threat, it is unlikely the government could have succeeded with such massive violation of personal privacy.  

It would be interesting to know what company manufactures the body scanners and what its relationship is to the US and Israeli governments.  But these questions never occur to Americans or to the “liberal media.”

As a member of the Congressional staff during the 1970s, both House and Senate and committee and member staffs, I learned that except for rare occurrences, the legislation that Congress passes and the President signs is written either by executive agencies or by lobbyists. Congress did not write the PATRIOT Act. It was written in advance of 9/11 awaiting its opportunity. President Bush’s National Security Advisor, Condi Rice, is on record saying that no one ever suspected such an event as 9/11 with terrorists using hijacked airliners as missiles against the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Why then was the voluminous PATRIOT Act sitting waiting?

Whose crystal ball read the future and had the PATRIOT Act drafted in advance? 

Whose crystal ball foresaw the underwear bomber and had the full body scanners ready to be deployed?

Are these amazing coincidences or orchestrated events?

Washington Post sells access to politicians for $25,000

Washington Post cancels lobbyist event amid uproar

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0709/24441.html

By MIKE ALLEN & MICHAEL CALDERONE | 7/2/09 8:04 AM EST

Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth said today she was canceling plans for an exclusive “salon” at her home where for as much as $250,000, the Post offered lobbyists and association executives off-the-record access to “those powerful few” — Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and even the paper’s own reporters and editors.

The astonishing offer was detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he felt it was a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its “health care reporting and editorial staff.”

With the Post newsroom in an uproar after POLITICO reported the solicitation, Weymouth said in an email to the staff that “a flier went out that was prepared by the Marketing department and was never vetted by me or by the newsroom. Had it been, the flier would have been immediately killed, because it completely misrepresented what we were trying to do.” 

Weymouth said the paper had planned a series of dinners with participation from the newsroom “but with parameters such that we did not in any way compromise our integrity. Sponsorship of events, like advertising in the newspaper, must be at arm’s length and cannot imply control over the content or access to our journalists. At this juncture, we will not be holding the planned July dinner and we will not hold salon dinners involving the newsroom. “

She made it clear however, that The Post, which lost $19.5 million in the first quarter, sees bringing together Washington figures as a future revenue source. “We do believe that there is a viable way to expand our expertise into live conferences and events that simply enhances what we do – cover Washington for Washingtonians and those interested in Washington,” she said. “ And we will begin to do live events in ways that enhance our reputation and in no way call into question our integrity.” 

Executive editor Marcus Brauchli was as adamant as Weymouth in denouncing the plan promoted in the flier. “You cannot buy access to a Washington Post journalist,” Brauchli told POLITICO. Brauchli was named on the flier as one of the salon’s “Hosts and Discussion Leaders.”

Brauchli said in an interview that he understood the business side of the Post planned on holding dinners on policy and was scheduled to attend the July 21 dinner at Weymouth’s Washington home, but he said he had not seen the material promoting it until today. “The flier, and the description of these things, was not at all consistent with the preliminary conversations the newsroom had,” Brauchli said, adding that it was “absolutely impossible” the newsroom would participate in the kind of event described in the solicitation for the event.

The flier promised the dinner would be held in an intimate setting with no unseemly conflict between participants. “Spirited? Yes. Confrontational? No,” it said. “The relaxed setting in the home of Katharine Weymouth assures it. What is guaranteed is a collegial evening, with Obama administration officials, Congress members, business leaders, advocacy leaders and other select minds typically on the guest list of 20 or less. …

Brauchli emphasized that the newsroom had given specific parameters to the paper’s business staff that he said were apparently not followed. He said that for newsroom staffers to participate, they would have to be able to ask questions and that he would “reserve the right to allow any information or ideas that emerge from an event to shape or inform our coverage.” That directly contradicts the solicitation to potential sponsors, which billed the dinner as “off-the-record.”

“Our mission in the news department is to serve an audience,” Brauchli said, “not serve our sponsors.”

“We do not use the Post’s name or our journalists to gain access to officials or sources for the benefit of non-news purposes,” he continued.

Brauchli said that Post employees on the business side — not the newsroom — would have been responsible for seeking participants for this event. Reporters, he said, would not solicit sources or administration officials. Brauchli said that he did not know who was invited or who accepted.

Ceci Connolly, a Post reporter who covers health care, told POLITICO that she had been told there would be a dinner and that she would be invited. However, Connolly said, she “knew nothing about sponsorships and had not seen any flier or invitation.”

Brauchli declined to comment on whether anyone on the business side would be held responsible for the abortive plan. He said that would be a decision for either Weymouth or Stephen Hills, The Post’s president and general manager. 

But regarding future events, Brauchli said: “I would hope that everybody in the Washington Post Company is always sensitive to the importance of the newsroom’s integrity and independence.”

Charles Pelton, The Post business-side employee listed as the event contact, seemed to dispute Brauchli’s version of events.

Pelton was quoted by Post ombudsman Andy Alexander in an online commentary as saying that newsroom leaders, including Brauchli, had been involved in discussions about the salons and other events.“This was well-developed with the newsroom,” Pelton told Alexander. “What was not developed was the marketing message to potential sponsors.”

According to Alexander, who called the flier a “public relations disaster,” Pelton told him: “There’s no intention to influence or peddle.” “There’s no intention to have a Lincoln Bedroom situation,” referring to charges that President Bill Clinton used invitations to stay at the White House as a way of luring political backing.

Pelton did not return a phone call from POLITICO. Kris Coratti, communications director of Washington Post Media, a division of The Washington Post Company, said the flier “came out of a business division for conferences and events, and the newsroom was unaware of such communication. It went out before it was properly vetted, and this draft does not represent what the company’s vision for these dinners are, which is meant to be an independent, policy-oriented event for newsmakers.

“As written, the newsroom could not participate in an event like this. We do believe there is an opportunity to have a conferences and events business, and that The Post should be leading these conversations in Washington, big or small, while maintaining journalistic integrity. The newsroom will participate where appropriate.”

Earlier this morning, Brauchli sent an e-mail entitled “Newsroom Independence” to his staff explaining his position.

“Colleagues,” Brauchli said. “A flier was distributed this week offering an ‘underwriting opportunity’ for a dinner on health care reform, in which the news department had been asked to participate. The language in the flier and the description of the event preclude our participation.

“We will not participate in events where promises are made that in exchange for money The Post will offer access to newsroom personnel or will refrain from confrontational questioning. Our independence from advertisers or sponsors is inviolable. There is a long tradition of news organizations hosting conferences and events, and we believe The Post, including the newsroom, can do these things in ways that are consistent with our values.”

The first “Salon” was to be called “Health-Care Reform: Better or Worse for Americans? The reform and funding debate.” More were anticipated, and the flier described the opportunities for participants:

“Offered at $25,000 per sponsor, per Salon. Maximum of two sponsors per Salon. Underwriters’ CEO or Executive Director participates in the discussion. Underwriters appreciatively acknowledged in printed invitations and at the dinner. Annual series sponsorship of 11 Salons offered at $250,000 … Hosts and Discussion Leaders … Health-care reporting and editorial staff members of The Washington Post … An exclusive opportunity to participate in the health-care reform debate among the select few who will actually get it done. … A Washington Post Salon … July 21, 2009 6:30 p.m. …

“Washington Post Salons are extensions of The Washington Post brand of journalistic inquiry into the issues, a unique opportunity for stakeholders to hear and be heard,” the flier says. “At the core is a critical topic of our day. Dinner and a volley of ideas unfold in an evening of intelligent, news-driven and off-the-record conversation. … By bringing together those powerful few in business and policy-making who are forwarding, legislating and reporting on the issues, Washington Post Salons give life to the debate. Be at this nexus of business and policy with your underwriting of Washington Post Salons.”

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked Thursday in the briefing room if anyone from the White House was invited to attend the salons, and what the policy is for attending such events.

“I don’t know if anybody here was,” Gibbs said. “I think some people in the administration, writ large, may have been invited. I do not believe, based on what I’ve been able to check, anyone has accepted the invitations.”

Gibbs said that the White House counsel would review such invitations and that they “would likely exceed” what would be considered appropriate.

If POLITICO had not reported on the flier this morning, Brauchli said he expects someone would have seen it before the event and, given the obvious ethical issue, it would have been canceled.

“Underwriting Opportunity: An evening with the right people can alter the debate,” says the one-page flier. “Underwrite and participate in this intimate and exclusive Washington Post Salon, an off-the-record dinner and discussion at the home of CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth. … Bring your organization’s CEO or executive director literally to the table. Interact with key Obama administration and congressional leaders.”

Noble Resolve and the Portland Presstitutes

Noble Resolve and the Portland Presstitutes

Captain Eric H. May 26.08.2007 19:39

Captain Eric H. May, the Internet intelligence writer, delivers a scathing review of the media/military misinformation in Portland’s nuke exercises, Noble Resolve (just finished) and TOPOFF (coming soon). He concludes with details of the Oregon guerrilla media that did the job that mainstreamers shirked.

Interlude Introduction

Noble Resolve, the catastrophe exercise headed up by Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), ended yesterday, giving Portland and Oregon a respite from the terror of a Bush administration false flag nuclear attack — at least until October, when TOPOFF, a “dirty nuke” exercise, comes to call. TOPOFF will be led by Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and the Homeland Security Agency (Homeseca), and is massive in scope, as described in the Homeseca press release, “The TOPOFF 4 Full-Scale Exercise”  http://www.dhs.gov/xprepresp/training/gc_1179430526487.shtm

“Taking place October 15-24, 2007, the TOPOFF 4 Full-Scale Exercise (T4 FSE) will … involve more than 15,000 participants representing Federal, State, territorial, and local entities … The T4 FSE is based on National Planning Scenario 11 (NPS-11). The scenario begins as terrorists, who have been planning attacks in Oregon, Arizona, and the U.S. Territory of Guam, successfully bring radioactive material into the United States. The first of three coordinated attacks occurs in Guam, with the simulated detonation of a Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD), or “dirty bomb,” causing casualties and wide-spread contamination in a populous area near a power plant. Similar attacks occur in the hours that follow in Portland and Phoenix.”

American citizens who are aware of nuclear exercises like Noble Resolve and TOPOFF split into two opposing groups: those who take assurance from government nuke preparations and those who worry that the government may be preparing to nuke them. The worried sort have abounded in the exercise ground zero of Portland, a free-thinking city that has been no friend to Bush presidents, father or son. This week military officials and mainstream media twisted and turned to avoid straight talk about Noble Resolve — then bent over backwards to label those who sought or offered straight talk as “conspiracy theorists.”

In response to my recent articles on the possibility of a false flag “911-2B” attack, and the inconvenient truth of my military and media credentials, I have been called the most incorrigible of conspiracy theorists. Establishment apparatchiks as diverse as Captain Mike Braibish (public affairs officer for the Oregon National Guard) and Joseph Rose (reporter for The Oregonian newspaper) have complained to me that most citizens calling local and state authorities demanding answers to nuke exercises are motivated by my articles and interviews. I’m honored to have created so salutary an effect, and will continue to do my job of presenting the worst case scenario of a possible false flag attack.

Portland Presstitutes

By “pressitutes” I mean reporters, editors, managers and publishers who claim to represent the honorable institution of journalism, but in reality represent nothing more than the dishonorable interests of the media cartels who pay for their services. It’s no wonder that more and more universities are merging their public relations and journalism departments into catch-all “communications” departments. There’s no particular difference in PR and current “journalism,” as far as I can see, and Portland’s mainstream media is no exception to the rule.

Although The Oregonian did not print a single news story on Noble Resolve (and still hasn’t to date), the paper editorialized in favor of the nuke exercise — and against “fevered speculation” earlier this month. Reporter Jeff Kosseff quite adeptly covered the public demand for information on Bush’s dictatorship directive, NSPD-51 — and just as adeptly ignored the public demand for information on Noble Resolve, by which that same public was afraid “King George” would find a pretext to implement dictatorship.

Oregonian reporter Joseph Rose contacted me (nearly two weeks after he said he would) for two half-hour interviews. It was apparent that he was trying to gather quotes outlandish enough to justify a hostile article against me for my coverage of Noble Resolve. Not having his facts together — and frustrated that I did — he firmly and finally announced that I was an unworthy source and unscrupulous reporter. Considering the source, I was honored, and pleased to have published a short article on his and his paper’s ineptitude: “Noble Resolve (Helping The Oregonian Catch Up)”  http://www.oregontruthalliance.org/

The Oregonian wasn’t alone in the practice of presstitution, though. Portland’s ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates kept mum about Noble Resolve for the weeks that viewers were calling their newsrooms asking for details about the growing and disturbing Internet story. In a splendid display of chutzpah, ABC’s KATU-2 aired a story Thursday ridiculing the fears of the public they had failed to inform with “Conspiracy theorists claim ONG drill is prelude to Portland attack”  http://www.katu.com/news/local/9334236.html

Noble Resolve, supposedly merely a computer simulation, had an disturbing farce in its middle. For no reason at all (so they said) Homeseca dispatched a VIPR (pronounced “viper”) team to occupy Portland International Airport in the middle of the nuke exercise, and refused to answer questions about it. KOIN-6 (CBS) covered it all without questioning it at all in its formidably named “Operation ‘Vipr’ Hits PDX”  http://www.koin.com/Global/story.asp”S=6968487&nav=menu494_2 In a similar vein, KGW-8 (NBC) aired “Special security teams descend on PDX”  http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_082107_news_security_pdx.58bbdac4.html Neither story asked the obvious question of whether Operation VIPR was linked to Noble Resolve. Homeseca’s VIPR teams have been operating for years, but this is the first time it has occupied Portland’s airport.

Lest I seem unduly harsh to the presstitutes of Portland, I should remind the reader that I myself have written for broadcast and print media, and I know full well when they aren’t doing their jobs. They have been hypocritical and harsh in attacking Internet journalists who adopt and develop the stories that they either ignore or abandon, so I don’t have a good word to say about them. They should remember three simple rules in the future:

1: It is a sin to be oblivious to the obvious (and Noble Resolve was an obvious public concern).
2: If you don’t cover the story, don’t complain that your non-coverage becomes part of the story.
3: If you don’t want to be called part of a conspiracy, don’t join a conspiracy of silence about it.

Homegrown Heroes

It is Portland’s good fortune to have found excellent information on Noble Resolve, despite their mainstream media’s neglect. KBOO community radio, through its news department and Presswatch host Theresa Mitchell, regularly broadcast much-needed information.

Portland Indymedia became the de facto city newspaper, publishing the kind of fact-finding stories and memos so conspicuously absent from the pages of The Oregonian. It caused a great deal of alarm when it stopped publishing Noble Resolve updates for around 24 hours in the midweek.

Ad hoc Internet groups, developed by Oregonians, helped fill the information vacuum as well. Ginny Ross, with her Oregon Truth Alliance  http://www.OregonTruthAlliance.org served as a nexus for interested citizens, as well as a an excellent bibliography of relevant sources. Patti Woodard’s Portland Nuclear Inquest  http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/Portland-Nuclear-Inquest/ gathered 60 members after its mid-August formation, and specialized in gathering and analyzing intelligence.

Major William Fox, who lives near to Portland, went to Oregon’s state capitol, Salem, to cover Noble Resolve for The Lone Star Iconoclast. The former Marine public affairs officer’s “Noble Resolve and the Ignoble Whitewash” offers an invaluable close-up perspective. He also posted a web page with links to my false flag writings and interviews, along with his analysis of them.  http://www.amfirstbooks.com/IntroPages/ToolBarTopics/Articles/Featured_Authors/may,_captain_eric/Capt._Eric_H._May_index.html

These patriotic parties, who informed a concerned public about Noble Resolve, will be critical in informing the public about the upcoming TOPOFF. Homeseca has already described its upcoming nuclear exercise as a surprise scenario, in which the participants will be ignorant of the particulars. The Oregonian’s Joseph Rose told me that neither he nor his paper will spoil the Bush administration’s surprise party by either investigating or reporting it, and we can expect the rest of Portland’s presstitutes to follow their sorry example.

It remains for the rest of us, the “conspiracy theorists,” to get at the truth, then get the truth out to the public.

“Our republic and its press will rise or fall together. An able, disinterested, public-spirited press, with trained intelligence to know the right and courage to do it, can preserve that public virtue without which popular government is a sham and a mockery. A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself. The power to mould the future of the republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations.”
Joseph Pulitzer (1904)

# # #

email)  captainmay@prodigy.net

(web address URL) www.ghosttroop.net

(address) Houston, Texas

Captain May is a former Army military intelligence and public affairs officer, as well as a former NBC editorial writer. His political and military analyses have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Houston Chronicle and Military Intelligence Magazine.

The most amusing faked terror of the year

 


Inside the terror plot that ‘rivaled 9/11’

What really happened in the case that led airlines to bans liquids and gels
By Richard Greenberg, Paul Cruickshank, and Chris Hansen
Dateline NBC, Sept. 15, 2008
[If you like amusement, look at the manufactured “suicide video ” prepared by intelligence services and shown on NBC.  It appears that the authorities – and their presstitutes – believe everybody to be imbecile. – The Webmaster]

In one of the most significant terrorism cases since 9/11, a British jury last week convicted three British citizens, accused of plotting to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners, on a charge of conspiracy to murder. The plot, which disrupted air travel at the time, led authorities to impose permanent restrictions on liquids and gels on airplanes.

But in a decision that surprised many observers, the jury deadlocked on a second murder conspiracy charge that specifically alleged the men intended to detonate explosive devices on board a trans-Atlantic passenger aircraft. Prosecutors are seeking to retry the three men on that charge.

The five-month trial highlighted the continuing threat posed by British-born radicals and the potential for Britain to serve as a staging ground for attacks against the United States

Authorities say the men, arrested in August 2006, planned to smuggle liquid explosives disguised as sports drinks aboard a half-dozen or more flights headed from London’s Heathrow Airport to cities in the United States and Canada. Counterterrorism investigators say that such an attack could have killed well over 1,500 on board the planes, and many more if detonated over densely populated urban areas.

In an interview, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff told Dateline NBC that, if successful, the alleged plot “would have rivaled 9/11 in terms of the number of deaths and in terms of the impact on the international economy.”

A review of the nearly 5,000 pages of trial transcripts and interviews with key British, American and Pakistani officials involved in the investigation offer insights into the current state of al-Qaida and the evolution of its operations, adding to the body of evidence that recruits from the West are being trained and directed by al-Qaida leaders in Pakistan.

The name al-Qaida was not spoken frequently in court, but it loomed over the entire trial.

Prosecutors did not produce any evidence explicitly linking the plot to al-Qaida, but privately, British officials have suggested that al Qaida’s number three at the time, Abu Ubaidah al Masri, authorized the alleged airline plot.  Al Masri reportedly died last year of natural causes.

U.S. officials: Plotters trained by al-Qaida in Pakistan

A senior Bush administration official and two U.S. intelligence officials told Dateline that intelligence shows that some of the men convicted in this case – though the officials did not identify them by name – traveled to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, widely believed to be home to al-Qaida’s leaders, where they received explosives training “from al-Qaida specialists.”

Testifying before a Senate committee last year, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, described the plotters as “an al-Qaida cell, directed by al-Qaida leadership in Pakistan.”

While some have questioned whether an attack really was imminent or even viable, law enforcement and intelligence sources on both sides of the Atlantic insist that it was only weeks away.  “This was no dress rehearsal,” says Andy Hayman, at the time Scotland Yard’s Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations, whose command included counterterrorism.  If the plotters had not been stopped, Hayman adds, “I believe they would have been successful.”

The three convicted of murder conspiracy – Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, Assad Sarwar, 28, and Tanvir Hussain, 27 – were among eight who went on trial last April.  One defendant, Mohammed Gulzar, 27, was acquitted of all charges.  The jury could not reach a verdict on the two murder conspiracy charges against four other men: Ibrahim Savant, 27, Arafat Waheed Khan, 27, Waheed Zaman, 24, and Umar Islam, 30.  The four, whom prosecutors described as foot soldiers in the plot, earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause a public nuisance and now face a possible retrial on both murder conspiracy charges.

At trial, prosecutors characterized Ali and Sarwar and the acquitted man, Gulzar, as lead figures in the conspiracy.

Authorities described Ali, who lived in the east London community of Walthamstow and had a college degree in computer engineering, as the cell leader in Britain and the one responsible for developing the mechanics of the bomb design.  Sarwar was essentially the bomb chemist; he purchased and stored the chemicals to make the liquid explosive and detonator.  Authorities alleged that Gulzar “superintended” the plot, traveling into the U.K. on a fraudulent South African passport to oversee the final preparations for the attack.

Ali, Sarwar, and Gulzar all had significant links to Pakistan.  Between 2002 and 2006, Ali and Sarwar made repeated trips there.  In early 2003, according to court testimony, both traveled to a refugee camp in Chaman, Pakistan near the Afghan border, on behalf of a London-based Islamic medical charity. Ali testified that the suffering he saw in the refugee camps made him increasingly angry with U.S. and British foreign policy.

Gulzar, originally from Birmingham, England, fled to Pakistan in 2002 when, according to law enforcement sources, British police sought him for questioning in the murder of a friend’s uncle.  That friend, Rashid Rauf, also fled to Pakistan around the same time and is believed by counterterrorism investigators to have played a critical role in the alleged airline plot, coordinating between the plotters in the U.K. and the al Qaida leadership in Pakistan.

On the stand, Ali, Sarwar, and Gulzar all acknowledged being in frequent communication with men in Pakistan.  Counterterrorism officials say that Gulzar’s main contact was his old friend Rauf.  Ali and Sarwar testified that they were in touch with a Kashmiri militant who went alternately by the names Yusuf and Jamil Shah.  Sarwar told the court that he received explosives training from the man in Pakistan in early summer 2006.  

Ali, who was in Pakistan during that same period, was already on the radar screen of British intelligence, according to British counterterrorism sources, who told Dateline that Ali’s name had surfaced in an intelligence analysis mapping out the associates of suspected terrorists.  The British security service MI5 brought in Scotland Yard, the sources say, and the two agencies coordinated closely from that point on. The sources say that the first clues that Ali might be planning an attack on commercial aviation came to their attention in June 2006, though a more complete picture only emerged several weeks later, in mid-July.

British counterterrorism investigators suggest that the alleged airline plotters may have had links to individuals involved in other plots. If nothing else, they point to an intriguing set of coincidences.  For instance, Mohammed Hamid, a radical preacher who called himself Osama bin London, worked in the same east London charity shop as Ali and Sarwar, the alleged airline plot leaders, and traveled to the same refugee camp in Pakistan.  Earlier this year, the 50-year-old Hamid was convicted of arranging terrorist training in the British countryside for several of those plotting to bomb the London transport system on July 21, 2005.

Furthermore, British court records reveal an intriguing coincidence in the timing of trips to Pakistan made by leaders of four major terrorist plots in Britain: a 2004 fertilizer bomb plot, the July 7 and July 21, 2005 London transit attacks, and the alleged airline plot.  Some counterterrorism investigators wonder if these plots may have been part of a campaign by al-Qaida to hit Britain with a rolling sequence of attacks.

Andy Hayman refuses to comment directly on that possibility.  “Until you absolutely know for sure through evidence, intelligence what happened when they went to Pakistan, you could never reliably answer that question.  “But,” adds Hayman, “on the balance of probability, do you not find it rather strange that the country that they visited, and whatever went on there precipitated them coming back to the U.K. and committing acts of terrorism?  I leave that open for others to draw their own conclusions.”

Piecing together a timeline

Testimony established that Ali, the alleged airline plot ringleader, was in Pakistan in the fall of 2004 and traveled back to Britain in early 2005.  During that same period, additional court records show, key figures in the July 7 and July 21, 2005 bombings were also in Pakistan, including July 7 suicide bombers Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, and July 21 ringleader Muktar Said Ibrahim, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.  Ali may have been in communication with Said Ibrahim in the spring of 2005, according to British officials, who explain that a cell phone police recovered from Ali contained a number used by Said Ibrahim.

That information was not presented at trial, nor was the jury told that Mohammed Gulzar, the alleged airline plot supervisor, who was acquitted, met several times with Mohammed al Ghabra, 28, a British citizen, who has been designated an al-Qaida facilitator by the U.S. government. At the trial, al Ghabra was referred to only by a nickname, “Gabs, ” according to counterterrorism sources.  Al Ghabra (seen in the picture below) and Gulzar’s meetings took place in South Africa and London in the spring and summer of 2006.

In announcing al Ghabra’s designation on December 19, 2006, the U.S. Treasury Department stated: “Al Ghabra has organized travel to Pakistan for individuals seeking to meet with senior al Qaida individuals and to undertake Jihad training.” It also stated that al Ghabra “maintains contact with… senior al Qaida officials in Pakistan.” 

Al Ghabra has denied the allegations.  In 2004, according to the Times of London, al Ghabra was acquitted on unrelated charges of fraud and “possession of a document or record that could be useful to terrorism.”

Al Ghabra is currently living openly in east London.

Ali, the alleged airline plot ringleader, made four trips to Pakistan between 2003 and 2006, according to trial testimony. Something about a trip he made there in the spring of 2006 – officials will not disclose exactly what – heightened their suspicion.  According to the Daily Telegraph, when Ali arrived in London on June 24, 2006, British agents “were waiting at Heathrow to secretly open his baggage in a back room.”

Soon after Ali’s return, the probe became “red hot,” former Assistant Police Commissioner Hayman says. “This was, at that time, the only show in town.”  Investigators began round-the-clock surveillance.  Counterterrorism investigators say that following Ali led them to the others he was recruiting, which led to more surveillance.

British counterterrorism investigators say that it eventually became the biggest operation of its kind.  At its peak, they say the investigation involved as many as a thousand intelligence and police officers, including surveillance teams that kept tabs on Ali, Sarwar, and the other suspected cell members. At trial, prosecutors introduced evidence of meetings in restaurants, parks, over games of tennis, and even by a Muslim cemetery.  Security camera footage showed the operatives on a veritable shopping spree for what authorities alleged were parts to make the explosives.

While the plotters had not yet assembled a complete device, prosecutors stated that they had acquired all the constituent parts for the three key components: the liquid explosive, the detonator, and the trigger – enough to produce at least 20 bombs.  

Their purchases included more than 40 liters of hydrogen peroxide, the main ingredient for the liquid explosive, which they bought from health food and hydroponics suppliers in Britain. Ali had brought some of the materials back from Pakistan, including packets of the sugar-based powdered drink Tang and AA batteries.  Authorities alleged that the Tang would function as fuel for the hydrogen peroxide-based explosive; the AA batteries would conceal the chemical compound hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD) for the detonator.  Sarwar purchased the key chemicals for that compound at local pharmacies.

Their bomb design, which has been widely reported, had striking similarities to explosives used in previous terrorist plots, authorities say. Hydrogen peroxide was the main ingredient in the explosives used in both the July 7 and July 21 plots, while HMTD was also used as the detonator in the July 7 attack, which killed 52 people in addition to the four suicide bombers.

In late July 2006, Ali set up shop in an east London apartment his brother had just purchased as an investment.  Ali testified that he told his brother he would help fix it up for resale.  According to further court testimony, Ali and one of his associates went to work experimenting with the bomb components. They drilled holes in the sports drink bottles to drain them; the plan was to refill them with the explosive mixture and reseal the bottles with superglue.  Ali also figured out how to remove the AA battery contents in order to insert the HMTD.  Beyond that, they were working on the trigger, for which they planned to use a disposable camera wired to the detonator.

Every move being watched

The plotters were unaware that by early August, the British secret service MI5 had broken into the apartment and installed video and audio probes to record their every move. On Aug. 3, 2006, investigators watched as two of the plotters made an apparent breakthrough in their bomb design. “That’s the boom,” one said, followed later by this phrase, “We’ve got our virgins.” In court, prosecutors said the comment referred to the rewards the men hoped to receive in the afterlife for carrying out their impending suicide mission.

John Reid, who oversaw the investigation as U.K. Home Secretary in 2006, says he had no doubt that the bomb could have worked. “They had the components.  And they had them cunningly, very sophisticated, but very simply made as everyday commodities that you might take onto a plane with you.”

Dateline, in conjunction with the British broadcaster ITN, commissioned a demonstration by an explosives expert.  It showed that a device similar to the one described in the court case – a half-liter hydrogen peroxide explosive with an HMTD detonator – could blow a hole in the side of an aircraft fuselage.

U.S. and British officials agree that the potential threat of the alleged airline plot drove them to new levels of trans-Atlantic cooperation.  According to the senior Bush administration official, it also prompted “a new paradigm of counterterrorism intelligence sharing” among U.S. agencies, including CIA, NSA, FBI, DHS, and TSA, all of which played significant roles. The official declined to offer specifics, but made it clear that the CIA and NSA, for instance, gathered intelligence for the investigation “in real time” using “the intelligence tools available.”

Several counterterrorism sources say the CIA provided critical help in identifying and tracking people involved in Pakistan.  “The Brits gave us a number or a name,” says one U.S. counterterrorism source speaking on condition of anonymity, “and we came back and said, ‘Here are these email addresses, these phone numbers, and more names.’” 

On Aug. 6, 2006, authorities grew increasingly concerned when they monitored Ali, the cell leader, looking up timetables for transatlantic flights departing between August and October 2006.  Adding to their worry: several of the plotters were seeking new British passports, apparently so they would have no trace of prior travel to Pakistan, making it easier to board flights to the United States.  The passports had not been issued, but expedited applications were pending. Several of the men also had applied for loans they allegedly never intended to repay, a tactic used by previous terrorist cells.

The next day, Aug. 7, according to officials at the Department of Homeland Security, there was a tense moment when they feared an attack might be underway.  Authorities discovered that a person on board an American Airlines flight from Heathrow to Boston was on the No Fly list.  Secretary Chertoff says, “The first concern that we had was, have we either missed something, or has someone decided on their own they are going to accelerate an element of the plot and we therefore, we are perhaps a little bit late?”  The airliner was sent back mid-flight to London; it turned out to be a false alarm.

On Aug. 8, 2006, at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, President Bush was briefed on the case.  Chertoff would not disclose the President’s specific comments, but told Dateline, “Generally, the president’s concerns were, first and foremost, ‘Let’s make sure no lives get lost.’”

Counterterrorism sources say that, by that time, U.S. intelligence services were tracking the movements of Rashid Rauf, the suspected al-Qaida point man in Pakistan, and officials saw indications that Rauf might be heading into the tribal areas of Pakistan, where they feared he could evade capture.

According to counterterrorism investigators, the situation created some friction. U.S. officials did not want to risk losing Rauf and pressed the Pakistani authorities to arrest him immediately.  British officials preferred to wait a few more days to gather more intelligence and evidence. The Pakistanis found themselves in the middle, says a former senior Pakistani official with knowledge of the investigation, who described the pressure from the U.S. as “enormous.”

On Aug. 9, the case reached critical mass: bugs planted in the terrorist safe house picked up audio of one of the men recording a suicide video, one of six such videos investigators eventually recovered. That evening, British police learned that Pakistani authorities had arrested Rauf.  British officials feared that if the plotters found out about Rauf’s arrest, it could serve as a “go signal” to trigger an attack.  “Given how high the stakes were, you couldn’t second guess,” says Andy Hayman.

Overnight, British police arrested more than two dozen suspects, including the eight whose trial just concluded.  Several were let go.  Four other men are expected to face trial in the coming months on conspiracy murder charges. Ali’s wife, Cossar, was also charged with failure to disclose information about the plot.  She is awaiting trial. 

On the witness stand at the trial just ended, the defendants claimed that they never intended to kill anyone, only to set off a bomb inside an airline terminal as a publicity stunt, and then release those suicide tapes as propaganda to draw attention to “the plight of Muslims.”  They also said they considered other targets in Britain, including the Parliament.  But they were hard-pressed to explain several contradictions.  For one, they claimed to disavow al-Qaida’s techniques; at the same time as they said they wanted the explosive to bear the hallmarks of al-Qaida, so they would be taken seriously.

During the trial, all the defendants except Gulzar pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause a public nuisance.  Three – Ali, Sarwar, and Hussain – pleaded guilty to an additional charge of conspiring to cause explosions. Those guilty pleas did not stop the jury from convicting the three men of murder conspiracy.

Jury’s reaction came as a surprise to many
Still, many counterterrorism officials were surprised by the jury’s indecision, given what they believed was one of the strongest terrorism cases to date.  Some suggested that the case would have been even stronger if prosecutors had been able to introduce intercept evidence.  Currently, wiretaps cannot be introduced in British courts.  In February this year, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he supports changing that law.

The mixed verdicts also have prompted some finger pointing in Britain, with critics accusing the U.S. government of forcing British police to shut down the operation too soon.  The critics speculate that given more time, authorities could have obtained more evidence. 

But both U.S. and British officials insist that the investigation was a success because it broke up the plot.  In a televised statement last week, British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith thanked the police and security services for saving “countless lives.”

Could bin Laden himself have signed off on the alleged airline plot?

Back in January 2006, bin Laden did warn Americans of major attacks in the works: “And you will witness them, in your own land, as soon as preparations are complete.” It is not clear if he was referring to the alleged airline plot, but counterterrorism experts believe that is a possibility.

“I can’t tell you whether operationally it went up to bin Laden,” Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff says, “but I think the links to the al-Qaida network are, in my mind, pretty clear.”

For now, British and U.S. authorities are satisfied they put all the main players out of action, at least in Britain. 

In Pakistan, it is a different story. The one suspect arrested in the case there, Rashid Rauf, escaped from custody last December. “Unfortunately, he is now no longer in the custody of Pakistan government,” Pakistan’s former interior minister Aftab Sherpao told Dateline.

A spokesman for Rauf’s wife’s family in Pakistan told Dateline they do not know where Rauf is and they insist he is innocent.  “They say he’s not involved in this.”

U.S. officials are circumspect.  Asked about Rauf, Secretary Chertoff says: “There I think we’re getting into an issue that I probably can’t get into.”

As for others involved in training and orchestrating the alleged airline plot from Pakistan, another senior administration official says they have been identified.  “They could be in Pakistan still. Some might be in other countries.  There are efforts underway to capture them.” 

Richard Greenberg is Supervising Investigative Producer for NBC News, Paul Cruickshank is a Fellow at the NYU Center on Law and Security, and Chris Hansen is Correspondent for Dateline NBC.

NBC News Senior Investigative Producer Robert Windrem contributed to this report.